London Drivers Are The Worst For 'Zoning Out'

IAM Study Shows 14% Of Drivers Cannot Recall Any Part Of Their Journey

24.02.2014

A worrying number of UK drivers confess to daydreaming while behind the wheel - and London-based motorists are the worst offenders.

According to a new study conducted by Vision Critical on behalf of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), one in ten people admit to 'autopilot'.

Overall, 14 per cent of drivers cannot recall any of the journey they have just made.

This figure rises to 22 per cent among Londoners, while Scottish motorists (11 per cent) and people in the south-west (ten per cent) are the least likely to lose their focus while travelling along.

There were also stark differences between age groups. While 35 per cent of 18 to 25-year-olds admitted they could not remember any of their journey on a regular basis, just five per cent of those over the age of 65 said likewise.

Organisations such as road safety charity Brake have been working hard to urge people to remain focused while driving and the IAM insists that motorists should stop if they feel drowsy or unable to concentrate.

The IAM/Vision Critical study suggested as many as 54 per cent of drivers have missed a turning because they were daydreaming, while a recent Brake/Direct Line survey found that 45 per cent of males have almost nodded off while behind the wheel.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said it is all too easy for people to zone out while driving.

"The act of driving should remain your biggest priority when behind the wheel. The fact is it takes too long to react appropriately if you are not concentrating on driving," he commented.

"Being distracted can have serious consequences, it could mean that you're less likely to see that cyclist or child running out until it's too late."

Aside from stopping for a break every two hours, the IAM has advised drivers to combat tiredness and concentration lapses by keeping their eyes moving, winding down the window for some fresh air and, if possible, sharing the driving with somebody else during long trips.

Expert Opinion
Concentration is key to safe driving and, as a result, it is very worrying to see this research emerge and demonstrate how many people can fall into the trap of ‘zoning out’ while behind the wheel.

"Distractions while driving are never a good thing and we have seen numerous cases when drivers, cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians have suffered life-changing injuries as a result of people not concentrating when behind the wheel.

"People need to be focused on the road and on keeping safe, particularly if this means taking a break from the road at a service station or sharing a long drive with another person. Responsible driving is key to driving down the number of people killed or seriously injured on UK roads."
Colin Ettinger, Partner