Most Common Motoring Distractions

Heavy rain, backseat drivers and spiders or bugs in the car are among the most common motoring distractions, it has emerged. Motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, reports.


Researchers who carried out a detailed study also found debris on the road, children squabbling in the back and dashboard warning lights lead to drivers taking their eyes off the road.

Sat Navs

Following the Sat Nav, adjusting the Sat Nav or changing radio stations also made the list as did eating food or consuming drinks whilst steering the vehicle.

100% Attention

David Carter of Accident Advice Helpline, which commissioned the study of 2,000 motorists, said: “There are hundreds of distractions for drivers every day, and during a long commute it can be hard to stay focused. When doing the same journey regularly, road users still need to keep their attention at one hundred per cent as incidents can easily occur as the result of a small distraction.”

Common Distractions

The top 50 common distractions includes children fighting with each other, other road users driving with full beam on in the dark and listening to a favourite song on the radio. Passing popular tourist attractions also feature in the list. Spotting an attractive driver at traffic lights is also likely to ensure you are not paying full attention to the traffic.

Other things guaranteed to distract drivers from the road are changing the radio station, singing along to favourite tunes and watching other people in their cars. Women admitted checking make-up and hair in the sun-visor mirror also take their eyes off the road as did hunting down their lip balm before parking up.


One quarter of Brits struggle to concentrate when getting lost, with three in ten unable to fully focus during heavy rain. And on the flip side, passengers failing to give directions is a common distraction for one in six.


Seeing a classic motor on the road and trying to transport a cake are also regular disturbances for drivers. One in five are often preoccupied by their kids arguing, so it’s unsurprising the same number of Brits find their children are the most distracting of anyone on a journey.


One in six drivers agree their partner causes the most interference when driving, with mum causing the most problems for one in twenty drivers. Nearly two thirds of those polled admit there are more distractions now than there were 10 years’ ago, with more than one in five drivers admit to having a ‘near miss’ or accident because they weren’t concentrating on the matter in hand.

Unsafe Driving

And some have even been pulled over by the police for unsafe driving caused by driver distractions. Even so, it doesn’t stop nearly three quarters of Brits from enjoying hitting the open road. Three quarters of British drivers admit they rarely concentrate all of the time when driving, with a third often wondering how they reached their destination safely after zoning out.

Top 50 Driving Distractions

1. People who drive towards you with full beam on in the dark

2. Heavy rain

3. Getting lost

4. Obstructions / debris in the road

5. Kids arguing in the back

6. Back seat drivers

7. A warning light/weird sound

8. Trying to follow the Sat Nav

9. Kids fighting

10. A bug or spider that has gotten into the car

11. Passenger not giving directions

12. Minor accidents

13. Adjusting the Sat Nav

14. Changing the radio station

15. Scenery

16. Trying to transport something fragile like a cake and making sure it stays safe

17. Having a row with your partner

18. Passengers fiddling with the tunes

19. Passengers fiddling with the heaters

20. You’re watching the driver behind you in your rear view mirror

21. General daydreaming

22. Emergency services travelling on either carriageway

23. Driving past a tourist attraction like Stonehenge

24. Eating/food

25. Being upset

26. People who have broken down

27. A pet in the back

28. Trying to take off a jacket because it’s hot

29. A pedestrian outside the car drawing attention to themselves

30. A text coming through

31. Talking on the phone

32. You’re too busy looking at what other drivers are doing

33. Adjusting the temperature

34. Children making a mess

35. Classic cars

36. Kids playing games

37. One of the kids undoing their seatbelt

38. Advertising/billboards

39. Checking to see if your child is asleep yet

40. When you need something from the glovebox – at 70mph

41. Attractive driver in the car next to you at the traffic lights

42. When you drop some food on the floor

43. Laughing hysterically

44. Unusual cars

45. Checking the fuel level

46. Your favourite song on the radio

47. Listening intently to the radio

48. Smoking/vaping

49. Trying to do up your own seatbelt after you’ve pulled out

50. Checking yourself in the mirror