With the school holidays and the potential for long family road trips just around the corner, a Škoda study has revealed the three most distracting behaviours that cause drivers to lose concentration behind the wheel.
The brand’s research reveals that parents claimed the most off-putting behaviour in the car by their children was arguing, followed by crying with screaming and fighting in the back seat the next on the list of the most off-putting behaviour when travelling.
In order to deal with these distractions while driving, 53% of motorists said they had taken their eyes off the road to tell off their children. Of those that did so, the majority (79%) said they had done so for up to 10 seconds while 11% did so for 11-20 seconds, and 4% admitted to not concentrating on the road for up to half a minute.
While many drivers accept that dealing with unruly, tired or argumentative passengers is part of family motoring, the distraction caused by mediating arguments and stopping fights has serious road safety implications. According to collision data from the Department for Transport, in 2021 there were a total of 2,336 collisions with a contributing factor of ‘distraction in vehicle’, an average of more than six per day.
The highway code states that thinking distances before reacting, for drivers, range from six metres when travelling at 20mph, and increase to 21 metres at the national speed limit of 70mph. These reaction times would increase further if the driver isn’t focused fully on the road ahead.
As all parents know, keeping young passengers entertained and comfortable can be a challenge. Škoda understands this and has always sought to design interiors that deliver plenty of space, light and comfort. To prevent arguments becoming heated, Octavia, Superb, Kodiaq and Enyaq models are all available with 3-Zone air conditioning that allows the driver to set a different temperature zone for rear seat passengers. Škoda also offers a range of accessories that can keep occupants engaged and entertained. These include a tablet holder that clips onto the front seat back.
And, should the worst happen and the driver is distracted enough to be in danger of causing an accident, Škoda models are equipped with a comprehensive suite of active and passive safety features. These can alert the driver of a potential hazard before the situation becomes critical and intervene if the system detects that an accident is imminent.
The systems include Front Assist, a collision alert safety system which monitors road conditions and traffic ahead of the vehicle via radar. Faced with a potential collision, it applies the brakes to avoid an accident. Front Assist will also bring the car to a standstill if there is a danger of colliding with an oncoming vehicle.
Adaptive Cruise Control also watches out for potential frontal impacts. Once activated, should a vehicle in front slow down or a car suddenly swerve into the path of the car, it will intervene and slow the car – stopping it completely if necessary.
Other assistance include Lane Assist, Adaptive Lane Assist and Lane Assist Plus, depending on the model. Lane Assist (standard on the Enyaq, Fabia, Scala, Octavia and Kamiq) will automatically correct the steering wheel if the vehicle begins to drift out of its lane. Adaptive Lane Assist and Lane Assist Plus build on this technology by using cameras to monitor the vehicle’s position. When activated it will keep the vehicle centred in its lane, prompting the driver to make a correction if no steering input is detected for an extended period of time.