29% of male drivers admit to near miss after seeing an attractive woman

Females also get distracted, but not by men…

 Men have a roving eye even while behind the wheel, an AA Motor Insurance survey of 15,500 Irish motorists has found. In asking drivers whether various roadside distractions had ever caused them to have a ‘near miss’ while driving, both genders were distracted in almost equally 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 men are way out on their own.

Only 2.3% of females said they had been distracted by an attractive male. A whopping 28.8% of men said that they had been distracted by an attractive female.

“It is an enormous difference between the genders just on that one point.” Says AA’s Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan. “Its Mars and Venus again and it probably won’t surprise those of us who are human beings.”

“The more general point of driver distraction is 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.”

Both genders were equally likely, at just under 15%, to be distracted by an advertising billboard. Men overall 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.”  Says Faughnan. “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.  13% of motorists polled by AA Motor Insurance shared that they have nearly tipped into another car or worse as a result of looking at the scene of a crash.  A similar percentage 12%, also said that gawking at another driver being stopped by Gardaí had almost caused them to crash.

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.

Inter county data

On an inter county level, Kilkenny drivers came out on top in terms of almost crashing their car as a result of glancing at an attractive woman.  This was followed by drivers in county Offaly.  At the other end of the scale, perhaps showing more discipline, were drivers in County Roscommon.

 Drivers in counties Leitrim and Cavan recorded the lowest rate of near misses as a result of looking at outdoor advertising with the problem being more prevalent around urban hubs.

 Data extracted from the results of the AA May 2012 online poll and based on 15,772 responses:

Fig. 1 Percentage of respondents who have had a near miss or a collision as a result of looking at the following items while driving:

An attractive female pedestrian/cyclist  17.3%
Outdoor advertising (billboard, bus etc) 14.8%
A road traffic accident 12.5%
Another driver stopped by Gardaí 12.0%
Other 8.5%
An eye-catching car 7.8%
An eye-catching building 5.8%
A roadside sculpture/statue/similar 4.6%
An attractive male pedestrian/cyclist 1.3%

Fig. 2 Percentage of MALE and FEMALE respondents who have had a near miss or a collision as a result of looking at the following items while driving:

  MALES (9,203 responses) FEMALES (6,144 responses)
An attractive female pedestrian/cyclist 28.8% 0.3%
Outdoor advertising (billboard, bus etc) 14.8% 14.7%
A road traffic accident 13.7% 10.4%
Another driver stopped by Gardaí 12.9% 10.4%
Other 8.4% 8.7%
An eye-catching car 10.0% 4.8%
An eye-catching building 5.9% 5.5%
A roadside sculpture/statue/similar 4.2% 5.1%
An attractive male pedestrian/cyclist 0.7% 2.3%

Fig. 3 Percentage of respondents, split by county, who have had a near miss or a collision as a result of looking at the following items while driving:

  CW 84 CN 83 CE 117 C 942 D 7792 DL 135 G 334 KY 138 KE 473 KK 118 LS 98 LM 47 LK 268
An attractive female pedestrian/cyclist 21.4% 16.9% 21.5% 20.0% 18.7% 20.7% 18.3% 21.0% 13.7% 23.7% 14.3% 14.9% 18.3%
Outdoor advertising (billboard, bus etc) 11.9% 7.2% 15.8% 17.2% 14.7% 17.8% 19.5% 13.8% 10.8% 17.8% 11.2% 6.4% 17.2%
A road traffic accident 6.0% 8.4% 13.0% 13.8% 12.6% 13.3% 10.2% 13.0% 11.8% 11.9% 13.3% 6.4% 10.4%
Another driver stopped by Gardaí 11.9% 6.0% 14.7% 13.8% 11.8% 11.1% 9.0% 10.1% 10.4% 10.2% 11.2% 4.3% 7.1%
Other 3.6% 13.3% 8.5% 9.8% 8.8% 8.1% 9.9% 12.3% 11.6% 8.5% 10.2% 12.8% 9.7%
An eye-catching car 10.7% 7.2% 7.3% 7.5% 8.1% 10.4% 5.7% 10.1% 5.7% 13.6% 8.2% 4.3% 7.8%
An eye-catching building 6.0% 4.8% 4.5% 6.4% 5.9% 8.9% 6.3% 8.0% 3.4% 9.3% 8.2% 6.4% 6.3%
A roadside sculpture/statue/similar 1.2% 6.0% 4.5% 6.5% 4.6% 8.1% 4.2% 7.2% 4.2% 4.2% 3.1% 6.4% 2.6%
An attractive male pedestrian/cyclist 0.0% 1.2% 0.6% 1.2% 1.3% 1.5% 1.2% 0.7% 0.8% 4.2% 2.0% 2.1% 1.1%

 

  LD 45 LH 173 MH 335 MN 45 MO 156 OY 92 RN 70 SO 81 TN/TS 197 W/WD 203 WH 118 WX 203 WW 335
An attractive female pedestrian/cyclist 18.8% 19.1% 15.6% 15.6% 19.2% 27.2% 10.0% 16.0% 18.8% 14.8% 18.6% 14.8% 16.1%
Outdoor advertising (billboard, bus etc) 14.7% 13.3% 15.6% 15.6% 18.6% 15.2% 12.9% 22.2% 13.7% 15.3% 12.7% 15.3% 20.3%
A road traffic accident 12.7% 11.0% 6.7% 6.7% 9.6% 5.4% 5.7% 11.1% 14.2% 10.8% 8.5% 10.8% 15.2%
Another driver stopped by Gardaí 11.9% 11.0% 11.1% 11.1% 13.5% 6.5% 7.1% 16.0% 10.7% 8.4% 7.6% 8.4% 13.7%
Other 8.8% 5.8% 11.1% 11.1% 7.7% 10.9% 12.9% 6.2% 8.6% 6.4% 6.8% 6.4% 9.3%
An eye-catching car 8.1% 13.3% 13.3% 13.3% 10.3% 12.0% 8.6% 8.6% 10.7% 6.4% 7.6% 6.4% 11.6%
An eye-catching building 5.8% 7.5% 8.9% 8.9% 9.0% 15.2% 2.9% 9.9% 7.6% 3.9% 7.6% 3.9% 5.7%
A roadside sculpture/statue/similar 4.6% 4.0% 2.2% 2.2% 9.0% 5.4% 4.3% 12.3% 5.1% 4.9% 5.9% 4.9% 6.9%
An attractive male pedestrian/cyclist 1.3% 1.2% 1.3% 4.4% 0.6% 2.2% 1.4% 1.2% 1.0% 3.0% 0.8% 3.0% 0.9%