Male drivers 'easily distracted by the mini-skirt effect'
Male drivers are way out on their own when it comes to being distracted by attractive members of the opposite sex.
Asked whether various roadside distractions had ever caused them to have a ‘near miss’, both genders were distracted in almost equal amounts by sights like advertising billboards, Garda checkpoints or traffic accidents.
But when it comes to the distraction provided by an attractive member of the opposite sex, only 2.3 per cent of females said they had been distracted by an attractive male. However, a whopping 28.8 per cent of men said that they had been distracted by an attractive female.
Commenting on the findings of a survey of 15,500 drivers by AA Insurance, AA Director of Consumer Affairs, Conor Faughnan said the "more general point of driver distraction" was "a serious concern for all drivers".
"Driving requires concentration at all times. In busy urban areas you tend to get lots of distractions together. Pedestrians, cyclists, billboards, tourists and lots of busy activity especially in summer. At low speeds drivers can cope with this provided they are paying attention.
"Although many of us have given ourselves a fright with a near miss the number of actual collisions is small and serious injuries even smaller," Mr Faughnan said.
Both genders were equally likely, at just under 15 per cent, to be distracted by an advertising billboard. Men overall, the survey found, were slightly more likely to be distracted by looking at a Garda checkpoint or the scene of a collision. They were also twice as likely to be distracted by seeing an eye-catching car.
Women were more likely than men to be distracted by roadside art. While overall numbers appear to show women to be slightly less prone to distraction, there were still plenty of examples of how a loss of concentration can cause a crash. One woman even admitted to rear ending another car as a result of admiring the outfit of another woman.
“While people may joke about a ‘mini skirt affect’, the onlooker phenomenon or ‘rubbernecking’ can be dangerous and frustrating," said Mr Faughnan.
He added: “We have known it to cause traffic delays. I recall a Ferris wheel beside the M50 causing long tailbacks. And we also have collisions, mostly very minor but sometimes more serious. The message for drivers is that simple accidents happen very quickly, so let’s remind ourselves to concentrate this summer on the roads.”
Whether out of concern or morbid curiosity, road traffic accidents also rank very highly in terms of slowing traffic, causing bottlenecks and ironically diminishing concentration spans.
Other environmental factors drivers cited as having drawn their attentions from the job at hand include eye catching cars and buildings, nice scenery, sculptures, animals, shop windows, gardens, flashing road signs and Christmas decorations.