I can’t take my eyes off the view

From man-made marvels to stunning natural landscapes, the UK isn’t short on sights that are easy on the eye. But for Brits who are seeing these wonders from behind the wheel of a car, admiring the view should be the last thing they do. That’s because new research has today revealed how one third (34 per cent) of motorists in the UK have had a minor accident or near miss after taking their eyes off the road to gawp at a spectacular sight.
The research, conducted by MORE TH>N Motor Insurance, quizzed motorists on what they believed were the most distracting roadside views in the UK. And nowhere, it would seem, is more diverting to drivers than the curious circles of Stonehenge, with over a quarter (26 per cent) of those surveyed admitting that the prehistoric landmark has had them distracted to the point of peril.


According to the research, the mesmerising monument in Wiltshire can lure a motorist’s eyes from the road up to three times in a single passing - and keep their gaze fixed upon its towering monoliths for an average of 3.74 seconds on each occasion. Worryingly, this could mean that mootorists drive past Stonehenge for a distance of 200 metres without paying attention to the road. It is perhaps no surprise therefore that one in eight (13 per cent) who have passed Stonehenge have admitted to a minor accident or near miss.

Although a permanent road closure around Stonehenge will soon make it a safe haven, there are many others vistas across the UK that should come with a warning sign for motorists, as MORE TH>N can reveal with the first-ever top 10 list of the most dangerous views around the highways and byways of Britain:

  LOCATION

NUMBER OF MOTORISTS DISTRACTED

AVERAGE TIMES A MOTORIST TAKES THEIR EYES OFF THE ROAD TO LOOK AT THE SIGHT

AVERAGE LENGTH OF EACH DISTRACTION (IN SECONDS)

PERCENTAGE OF MOTORISTS THAT HAVE HAD A PRANG OR NEAR MISS

1. Stonehenge

26 per cent

3 times

3.74 seconds

13 per cent

2. Angel of the North

18 per cent

2.48 times

3.19 seconds

11.5 per cent

3. Blackpool Tower

12 per cent

2.41 times

2.93 seconds

11.3 per cent

4. Scottish Highlands (towards Glencoe)

11 per cent

3.2 times

3.60 seconds

11.25 per cent

5. Big Ben/Houses of Parliament

10 per cent

2.38 times

2.95 seconds

10.4 per cent

6. Windsor Castle

10 per cent

2.23 times

2.93 seconds

9.8 per cent

7. Tower Bridge

9 per cent

2.33 times

2.90 seconds

9.95 per cent

8. Clifton Suspension Bridge

9 per cent

2.23 times

2.87 seconds

10 per cent

9. Cheddar Gorge

8 per cent

2.34 times

3.02 seconds

10.2 per cent

10. Severn Bridge

8 per cent

2.21 times

2.75 seconds

9.9 per cent

 

THE 10 MOST DANGEROUS VIEWS IN THE UK:

The potential dangers of being captivated by a landmark are not just limited to veering off the road or into oncoming traffic, either. In fact, 14 per cent of motorists admitted they are so spellbound by sights that they will rapidly slow down by 27 mph to get a longer lasting look – putting those behind them in very real danger of a collision.

And if further proof was needed as to why Brits should avoid taking in the view and driving, the research reveals how a landmark-related accident will cost a motorist £413.56 of damage each time.

Commenting on the research, Janet Connor, Managing Director of MORE TH>N, 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 have not been fully explored.

“The UK is blessed with some amazing sights and landmarks, but as this research suggests, motorists need to resist the lure of taking their eyes off the road and staring at those sights while driving. Our advice to motorists is simple: to avoid having an accident while appreciating the view, park-up and enjoy it safely.”
(originally posted on 12/09/2012)

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