Report reveals dangers of one handed driving

12.00 | 9 May 2012 | | 8 comments

A new academic report reveals that eating while driving can almost double motorists’ reaction times.

The study, commissioned by esure car insurance and carried out by the University of Leeds, found that participants’ reaction times increased by 44% when eating behind the wheel.

The report, ‘Two Hands Better Than One’, also shows that sipping a drink can increase reaction times by more than 22% compared to driving with both hands on the wheel.

Accompanying research from esure revealed that 79% of respondents did not understand the legislation around driving with one hand on the wheel. 17% of respondents thought it acceptable to drive with just one hand on the wheel and 47% admitted to doing this regularly.

Mike Pickard, head of risk and underwriting at esure car insurance, said: “Results from these driving simulator tests give great cause for concern and indicate how dangerous it is for motorists to engage in activities that involve driving with just one hand on the wheel.

“We are appealing for all motorists to take the time to properly plan their car journey before leaving the house. Eat before you step into the car and plan regular breaks at service stations to help fuel any cravings whilst behind the wheel.”

For more information contact esure press office on 020 3128 6600.


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    I’ve been driving with one hand for 32 years without incident. (save a few speeding tickets…) It is legal for to do so by the State of Oregon because I had a stroke 35 years ago when I was 11. It’s safer than a person with 2 hands at 10 and 2 on the wheel… I know of several drivers who are personal friends who should NOT be driving. Some people are good at it, and some aren’t. And a story provided by an insurance company should always be taken with a grain of salt…

    Tim, Portland, Oregon USA
    Agree (0) | Disagree (2)

    Elderly driver, nearly 80, drove me back at 80 mph on M25 from Gatwick after dark with one hand on lower right quadrant of wheel, the other on his knee. Although he’d been prescribed glasses, he said he could see better without.

    Bizgen, Hants
    Agree (1) | Disagree (1)

    Fair point Andrew. The error is in the original release by ensure, but we should have spotted it. Will leave as it is so people understand the relevance of your post.

    Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety GB newsfeed
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Since when was a 44% increase almost a doubling? A serious subject, but as long as press releases like this one and many others talk to us like children I fear little progress is going to be made.

    Andrew, Cambridge
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Much ado about nothing! The mobile phone legislation has been around for years and I regularly see people drive while on a mobile phone; there are other distractions, I find kids squabbling on the back seat a big distraction. We cannot legislate every distraction out of the equation so leave this well alone.

    Jim, Aberdeen
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Driving with one hand is not necessarly dangerous. I drive RELAXED with my right hand on the wheel at a speed that is appropriate at the time. I also observe many drivers with two hands on the wheel who have a look of fear in their face, I was also given a lift by a couple the other day who were not fit to be behind a wheel but had both hands on the wheel. I couldn’t get out of the vehicle fast enough. Don’t classify every driver to be of the same competence and mentality.

    reg oliver derbyshire
    Agree (1) | Disagree (1)

    Two hands on the steering wheel at all times, unless it is required to operate another control briefly. How many drivers have, and keep, their left hand on the gear lever whilst driving? It reduces your control considerably.

    Alan Hudson. Walton-le-Dale, Preston.
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    It’s not just long journeys, I regularly see drivers eating, drinking or applying their make-up at the wheel on their commute into work. It seems a number of motorists plan their journey to include other tasks in an attempt to reduce time pressures.

    Dave, Leeds
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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