Distracted driving: 8 common distractions and how to fight them


Did you know most serious car accidents occur within five minutes1 of home? It’s easy to become complacent on familiar routes, especially as an experienced driver.

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Most Aussies drive distracted

Have you multi-tasked while driving at some point?

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve had your licence– all drivers are at risk of being distracted on the road.

Here are the most common distractions and how to combat them.

The most common distractions on the road

1. Eating or drinking (41%)*

According to Kantar’s Driver Distraction research, 41% of drivers eat or drink behind the wheel.

Eating while driving may be legal, but you can still receive fines and demerit points if police find that your control of the car was compromised, even if you don’t crash.

Even easy to reach snacks like chips can reduce your grip on the steering wheel because they leave grease on your fingers.

Hot tip:

Stop for a break if you need to eat or drink.

2. Changing the music or radio station (34%)*

Many drivers change radio stations without a second thought. But shifting your eyes away from the road – even for a split second – increases your chances of an accident.

Hot tip:

Make a playlist before driving

Create a driving playlist before you head off.

There are now apps that use AI to generate custom playlists based on your specific interests. You can even scan a music festival poster to create a playlist based on the line-up.

Find out more about AI generated playlists here. Or download the AI Playlist Maker app directly.

If you prefer something that’s already set up, check out this list of Spotify playlists for every occasion, from family road trips to the classics.

3. Looking away to use your GPS (34%)*

We’d be lost without our GPS systems. But we need to make sure we’re using them safely on the road.

Hot tips:

  • If you’re using your phone’s GPS, mount it on the dashboard at eye-level.
  • Always set up your GPS route before you start driving.
  • Pull over and park in a safe spot if you need to readjust your route.

4. Looking at pedestrians (25%)*

Distracted driving isn’t limited to tech use! 25% of drivers are distracted by pedestrians while driving.*

Hot tip:

Remember to keep your eyes on the road, no matter how seasoned a driver you are.

5. Talking on the phone (13%)*

Even a momentary distraction – like glancing at your phone to see who’s calling you – can be life-threatening. Yet many of us are guilty of using our mobile while driving.

Hot tips:

Set your phone to ‘’do not disturb’’

It’s so hard to resist the temptation of checking your phone. Go to your phone settings and select “do not disturb’’ to make this easier. You could also switch on aeroplane mode or stick it in your glove box.

Use hands-free

If you must pick up a call, use hands-free. Though, it’s still best to avoid talking on the phone when driving because even if your hands are on the wheel there’s still a risk of cognitive distraction.

6. Breaking up kids’ fights in the back seat (11%)*

Kids can cause a lot of chaos in the car, especially on long road trips. It may be worthwhile to prep some child-friendly entertainment for those long journeys.

Hot tips:

Here are some handy apps that may help with bored kids.


This app helps you plan your route with suggested stops along the way. You can set things up before you leave, and choose between activities like camping, the outdoors, city life and more.


Audible has a huge selection of audiobooks and podcasts to keep the kids entertained for hours.

Road trip games

If you’re nostalgic for the car games of your youth, there’s an app for that. Here’s a list of online games for young kids, including an app that will let your child embark on a fantasy road trip where they can pick their destination.

You could also keep an activity bag in the car that includes things like games, colouring books, crayons, origami kits, puzzles, and more.

AAMI Roadside Assist

Before embarking on that road trip, consider taking out AAMI Roadside Assist as an optional cover for an additional premium.

AAMI Roadside Assist is only available with AAMI Comprehensive Car Insurance. AAMI Roadside Assist offers 24-hour roadside assistance Australia-wide. Conditions and exclusions apply.**

Explore Roadside Assist

7. Tending to a pet (8%)

Many Aussies drive with their dog unrestrained in the backseat. But Buddy poses a huge risk if he blocks your view or jumps around in the car.*

Hot tip:

Restrain your pet

Get your dog a harness that is compatible with your car’s seatbelt system. For cats, it’s best to place them in a carrier that’s strapped securely in place.

For more tips on how to safely transport all kinds of pets – including snakes and ferrets – check out this guide.

8. Grooming or fixing your hair (7%)

You may think that fixing your hair or lipstick in traffic is no biggie. But distractions significantly reduce your reaction time on the road.

Hot tip:

Do your makeup, hair, or any other type of grooming before you leave the house, or when you reach your destination.

Don’t forget car insurance!

Even if we take all the precautions in the world, there’s no guarantee that we won’t run into trouble on the road. Accidents are sometimes out of our control, and it’s important to prepare for the worst.

AAMI Comprehensive Car Insurance covers accidental loss or damage to your car caused by an incident. We will also cover you or anyone you authorise to drive your car for legal liability to pay compensation for loss or damage to another person’s car or property.

Why choose AAMI Comprehensive Car Insurance?

When you choose AAMI Comprehensive Car Insurance, you may be entitled to additional cover that comes with your policy. This includes hire car after a not at fault incident or hire car after theft up to 21 days. Please read the PDS for full details.

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Read more:

1 All Trial Law

*The Driver Distraction research findings were conducted by Kantar in November 2022 on behalf of AAMI.

**AAMI Roadside Assist is an optional cover only available in conjunction with AAMI Comprehensive Car Insurance. Terms and conditions for coverage apply. There is no cover for AAMI Roadside Assist within the first 24 hours of adding the optional cover. Please read the AAMI Roadside Assistance T&Cs for the terms, including the coverage, limitations and exclusions. For full details about what is and isn't covered under your AAMI Comprehensive Car Insurance, check the Product Disclosure Statement.

Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as AAMI. Read the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. Target Market Determination is  also available. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.

The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.