Monday, February 26, 2007

Do road signs and billboards really contribute to car accidents?



The amount of car accident compensation claims made in the UK has undoubtedly risen since the number of roadside distractions became more commonplace. In fact, a survey carried out by Privilege Insurance in 2005 found that a total of 83% of UK motorists are affected by roadside distractions when driving.

Whether you spy someone streaking alongside a motorway, catch a glimpse of a busty lady on a large poster or slow your car and crane your neck to see the aftermath of smash, roadside distractions certainly put drivers and their passengers at serious risk of sustaining car crash injuries as a result of just a few seconds of lapsed concentration.

Alluring ads and scintillating statues Although the temptation to take your eyes off the road ahead and take a sidewards glance at an attractive member of the opposite gender has always been there, suggestions have been made that modern advertising could be one of the most potentially serious road accident hazards around.

There has been much speculation about men and their one-track minds but research by Privilege revealed that male drivers were more likely to be distracted by advertising displaying scantily-clad women than women were to be by images of men in various states of undress.

The use of stunning supermodels such as Eva Herzigova advertising underwear is likely to gauge the attention of any passer-by but if placed on a huge billboard beside a busy motorway, this is likely to cause eyes to wander and all concentration from driving to be lost, leading to a definite risk of a road accident occurring.

A few years back, The Body Shop faced having to remove part of the ornamentals outside their headquarters in Littlehampton, West Sussex. A number of statues, one of which was a woman in her natural form, were featured on the land of the beauty product company that is famously against animal testing.

The lesser-clothed of the three figures, arranged as seen in the impressionist painting Luncheon on the Grass by Manet, was causing drivers to crane their necks so that they could sneak a look at her bare physique and car accidents as a result of such peeping-tom antics were reported to have happened.

An influx of requests for the statues to be removed followed. It was thought that by getting rid of the temptation for drivers to take their eyes off the road, a decrease in personal injuries being sustained and the need for car accident compensation claims to be made would result.

Signs of the times Recent reports have also shown that UK motorists are distracted by the amount of signs featured on our roads which are actually designed to aid them while driving. However, it seems that there are now many more homemade signs, advertising everything from school fetes to charity auctions, appearing along particular roadsides. A total of 17 signs were posted on one roadside verge just outside Midhurst, a village in West Sussex, during autumn 2005, which caused major concern for road safety experts and the Government alike.

Yvette Cooper, Housing and Planning Minister, has commented on the subject of excessive signs and ads, "Too many of our motorways are now strewn with illegal trailer adverts, which cause hazards for drivers and are unsightly too. Just because the ads are parked on trailers doesn't mean they should be able to dodge proper planning and safety rules.

"Twenty three percent of drivers say they have been so distracted by roadside distractions, such as ads, that they have swerved out of lane. That's why applications need to go through the proper planning system so they can be appropriately assessed."

How much of a distraction? According to a poll carried out by Privilege, 30% of drivers say that the have lost their concentration when behind the wheel by looking at a sign or billboard. Many even admitted to being distracted for up to five seconds, which, if travelling at 60mph, equates to the length of football pitch, ample time for a car accident to occur.

In response, Dr Mark Young from Brunel University has said that when driving our visual workload varies throughout the journey, which means that when undertaking more difficult tasks like negotiating a roundabout, it is easy to become preoccupied by roadside advertising or any other distractions.

A more recent study carried out by Nottingham University in 2006 found that as much as 50% of a driver's time can be spent looking at distractions by the roadside. A particularly worrying figure which strongly points towards an explanation for the rise in car accident compensation claims dealt with by personal injury claim firms, such as The Claim Solicitors.

by Katy Lassetter

This article may be published on another website free of charge, on the condition that a link is provided from this article to our website: http://www.the-claim-solicitors.co.uk/car-accident/car-accident.htm

Online personal injury compensation claim specialists, with a 97% claim success rate. Call 0800 197 32 32 or visit http://www.the-claim-solicitors.co.uk for more details.




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