Most dangerous things to do while driving

Sam Bisby

By: Sam Bisby

A recent study from the Ford Motor Group has revealed that a third of British drivers admitted to taking ‘selfies’ behind the wheel. This is among a multitude of dangerous things drivers have admitted to or have been caught doing behind the wheel. Have a read of the most dangerous things we’ve found that have been done behind the wheel.

Applying makeup/styling hair

It is generally women that attempt to apply makeup and style their hair when they are behind the wheel – not to say men don’t do such things, but I’ve never seen it. With attentions on putting mascara on their eyelashes or pulling a knot out of their hair, this means drivers are distracted from the road. Sometimes women applying makeup even use the sun visor’s mirror to apply the makeup making the road a background view, rather than the main view.

Reaching for items out of reach

It always happens that the items that you need while driving such as a map or your bag are always out of reach. These items can be reached easier by pulling over and reaching for them; but, some competent multi-taskers assume that they can reach for the item while also driving, even though their eyes aren’t on the road.


You would think that men would be the main culprit for this, and you would be right. However, there was an occasion in America in which a woman had a car accident whilst shaving her bikini area. Personally I don’t know how this would be accomplished, which is probably why she crashed…

Falling asleep/tired

After a long day’s work or a day out, you can often feel tired or start falling asleep behind the wheel. Past research has suggested 20% of accidents on major roads are sleep-related.

Drivers use caffeine, turn up the radio or open a window to fight drowsiness. The only real way to get rid of tiredness is to actually sleep. Falling asleep or feeling tired at the wheel can decrease your attention span, cause the inability to keep your eyes open, cause poor judgement and reduce reaction time. It is always better to take the hit and get a hotel rather than risk doing a long journey whilst feeling tired.

Eating and drinking

If you are running behind in the morning, it can be easier to take your breakfast and your morning tea or coffee with you in the car, but try and risk it. You will need to use your hands to eat or drink behind the wheel and it can mean that your attention is preoccupied with the food; take your food with you by all means, but eat it in the office.

Drink and/or drugs

Drink and drugs can damage your concentration, impair your vision, reduce reaction times, cause over-confidence and make you feel drowsy. Recent surveys have found that one-in-three British drivers have admitted to driving after drinking alcohol. Drink and drug driving are the two of the biggest killers on the road. Drink driving is the cause of one-in-six of UK road deaths.  

Not wearing a seat belt

According to British law, every passenger and driver should wear a seat belt if one is fitted in the seat (except with a few exceptions, such as if you are reversing). A person not wearing a seat belt is twice as likely to die in a car crash, according to the road safety campaign Think.  

Driving while wearing headphones

It is not specifically against the law to wear headphones. Under the Road Traffic Act and the Highway Code a police officer may find a driver is not in control of the vehicle or to be unfocused while wearing headphones.

Indecent exposure

Several men and a few women have been charged on the grounds of indecent exposure after performing sexual acts while driving a car. Obviously during sexual acts, a person’s attention is very much elsewhere…

Driving with a kid or dog sat in your lap

To keep kids quiet or stop a dog moving around a car, it can seem easier to sit the dog or kids on your lap while behind the wheel. Under UK law, this is considered driving without proper control. Your dog or kid may feel safer and happier on your lap, but it certainly isn’t the former.

Adjusting your GPS device

Whether you are changing your destination or just adjusting the positioning, a GPS device can sidetrack you from your driving; get a passenger to adjust any settings or if you are driving alone stop at the next place possible and do it yourself.

Using your phone

The Government road safety campaign Think has stated that you are four-times more likely to be in a car accident if you are using a phone behind the wheel.


With a third of British drivers admitting to taking selfies behind the wheel, there’s an obvious problem. You only need to take a look at the hashtag car selfie on Twitter to see that the majority of the images are of drivers taking selfies of themselves. It takes approximately 14 seconds to take a selfie, which means the driver will be completely unfocused during this time.

Surfing the internet

A survey from 2011 found that one-in-five motorists surf the internet while driving. Ford’s survey also found that a quarter of young drivers also admitted to using social media sites whilst behind the wheel. Depending on the phone service, social media on a 3G signal can take 20 to 30 seconds to load on a phone resulting in a driver’s attention being very much preoccupied.

Calling/ talking

It is now illegal to hold a phone while you are calling or talking on the phone. It is a rare occurrence when I don’t see a driver with a phone to his or her ear once a week.


Sending a message on your phone with one hand may seem an easy and quick alternative to calling someone; however, sending a message using a hand-held phone is also illegal. During the average text, a driver can have their eyes off of the road for five seconds, which, at 55mph, is the equivalent of an entire football pitch worth of road. Just how much road you’re not paying attention to for those longer texts…is it really worth it?

What is the most dangerous thing you have seen a driver do?

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