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Driven to distraction by perilous passengers.

Three in five motorists are being driven to distraction by nuisance passengers such as naughty children, back seat drivers and nagging mothers-in-law, a survey said this week. The study of Britain's most perilous passengers, who also include barking dogs, moaning partners and people who fiddle with controls, highlights their life-threatening effect.

Eight per cent of drivers who have been involved in an accident blamed a passenger. One in four drivers took their eyes off the road - and more than one in three said they had lost concentration due to a distracting passenger, the study by insurer Norwich Union found.

One in 10 drivers admitted to shouting at nuisance passengers, with the South West region pinpointed as the most hot-tempered motorists.

Drivers in the North West are most likely to take their eyes off the road because of a passenger. And Londoners are four times more likely to be distracted by a passenger than those living in the South West.

Nigel Bartram, motor underwriting manager of Norwich Union said, "Many drivers don't realise the impact passengers can have on their driving skills and concentration. Not only can these distractions be a cause of annoyance, they also have the potential to cause a road accident.

"Our advice is, if you are finding a passenger's behaviour distracting, find a safe spot and pull over and do not start driving until the situation is under control."

Norwich Union's tips for a safe journey include agreeing in-car etiquette before trips and keeping passengers comfortable, with regular breaks.

It also advises motorists to keep passengers entertained, with travel games and books for young children and creating a music playlist to avoid disagreements.

The insurer advised that some drivers find a few drops of lavender oil added to car seats can ease stress.

The study, which interviewed 744 British drivers last month, identifies the most perilous passengers:

1 Screaming children and crying babies.

2. Children fighting.

3. Back seat drivers.

4. Barking and/or excited dogs.

5. Passengers who constantly change the music, or fiddle with the temperature controls.

6. Car sick passengers.

7. A nagging mother-in-law.

8. A moaning partner.

9. Passengers trying to give you directions.

10. Passengers who can't keep still.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 7, 2007
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