As spring approaches, many of us who’ve spent months trapped in the lingering Polar Vortex will celebrate as we drive with the windows rolled down. But with this simple pleasure comes the tendency for a less-talked-about (but no less serious) driving distraction.
While most of us are familiar with distracted driving behaviors like texting, eating, and messing with the radio, a survey of 3,000 British drivers shed light on a lesser-known distraction known as flirting while driving (or FWD). (And while we sometimes like to focus on the differences between ourselves and our friends across the pond, it seems likely that flirting while driving isn’t a uniquely British problem.)
The scary flirting-while-driving stats
Although it may seem like harmless fun, flirting behind the wheel can be more distracting than you think. Need proof?
Forty-one percent of drivers surveyed admitted to flirting with fellow drivers when they should’ve been watching the road. Among those guilty of flirting while driving, 15 percent fessed up to close calls when their side-eyed style of driving nearly caused an accident.
The nature of this behavior tends to differ by sex and gender. Most women said they’d give an attractive driver a smile (instead of looking ahead), while men were more inclined to honk at (and probably startle) a driver that interested them.
Speaking of, more men admitted to FWD than women. Only one-third of women surveyed said they’ve been a little too friendly with drivers passing by, while half of the men surveyed admitted they’ve been more than attentive to attractive drivers nearby.
There’s no doubt it can be a challenge to stay cool when someone pulls up and makes your usual route a little more scenic. So next time you’re struck by Cupid’s arrow en-route, just remember to keep your eyes focused on the road.
How to avoid flirting while driving
Don’t treat driving like a dating game
Speed date the safe way — when you’re not on the road! Or if you’re really on the lookout for love, consider this. According to a recent survey by MSNBC, 63 percent of married couples met through a friend, not, like the song says, “ridin’ on the freeway.”
Keep your eyes on the road
That stolen glance could cost you more than just a dented bumper. Like your car, your insurance premium could also take a hit if you cause an accident due to distraction.
Let fate take its course
If you happen to glance at a good-looking motorist (not on purpose, I hope!), it’s best to leave any further actions up to chance. Who knows? Maybe you’re both headed to the grocery store or maybe that Prince Charming on wheels isn’t a cat person anyway, so it’s just not meant to be.
Are U.S. drivers guilty of riding flirty too?
What do you think? Have you seen fellow drivers scanning the road for eligible motorists, or is flirting while driving just a Brit thing? Has anyone ever tried to flirt with you on the road? Do you think flirting while driving’s a problem or no big deal?
Share your thoughts and experiences on FWD below!
Learn about how car manufacturers are developing features designed to fight against the many temptations that lead to distracted driving.
In addition to flirting while driving, there are even more bad driving behaviors that might not be on your radar.