Scenic routes bad for drivers

2012-09-19 09:34

Distracted drivers are nothing new, beavering away on their cellphones when they should be driving, but what about those who cause prangs and pile-ups because they’re distracted by the scenery?

The London Daily Mail reported one third of UK drivers had prangs or near misses while they took their eyes off the road to take in the scenery. Drivers also admitted to slowing down by up to 43km/h to catch a better look at the sights they pass.


The prehistoric Stonehenge circle of stones has topped a British list of sights most likely to cause drivers to have an accident. Angel of the North; a contemporary sculpture situated in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear and the Eiffel Tower-inspired Blackpool Tower are also responsible for a number of bumper bashes, it was reported.

According to the Daily Mail, a study has shown that a third of drivers in the UK have had a minor accident or near miss after taking their eyes of the road to admire a landmark or view.

Stonehenge was the biggest offender, with more than a quarter of the people surveyed admitting looking at the monument when they should’ve been driving and 13% admitting to a minor accident or near miss. Research carried out by a car insurance firm indicated Stonehenge can attract a driver’s gaze for up to three times in a go – and up to four seconds at a time.

The study also showed drivers slow down dramatically as they pass landmarks – up to 43km/h – risking being rear-ended by another car to get a better look.

Other sites on the top ten list of distracting sites included the The Scottish Highlands, the limestone Cheddar Gorge in Somerset, London's Houses of Parliament and the Tower Bridge, Windsor Castle and Bristol’s Clifton Suspension Bridge.


Unsurprisingly, More Than Motor Insurance suggests drivers park off along the side of the road to take in special sights.

Janet Connor, managing director of the insurance provider, said: “We're often encouraged by travel guides and even our friends and family to take the scenic route. But until now the perils of admiring the world beyond the windscreen had not been fully explored.

“Our advice to motorists is simple: to avoid having an accident while appreciating the view, park up and enjoy it safely.” Connor concluded.

Are there any sights in South Africa that might cause pause for thought (and admiration)? Tell us in the comment section below.