Drivers typically take their eyes of the road for over two miles in a one hour journey, according to research.
Car giant Peugeot fitted special glasses on a group of drivers to monitor their eye movements.
The drivers completed twenty five identical six mile journeys in a selection of four wheeled drive SUVs – or sports utility vehicles.
The results showed that on average they took their eyes off the road seven per cent of the time.
During a one hour drive at thirty miles per hour, this equates to travelling 3.35 kilometres – or more than two miles – without looking where they are going.
To put it another way, this equates to the length of almost 32 football pitches.
The glasses used for the tests have six small cameras that map where the retina of the eye is looking every 0.05 seconds. The driving route was carried out on a variety of roads, with a range of speed limits and road types.
The results of the study may prove a wake-up call to many drivers who think nothing of turning to speak to the person in the passenger seat, or fiddling with the radio or their phone on a journey.
Official figures show that of the 1445 fatal crashes in Britain in 2016 that resulted in one or more deaths, the police recorded 397 incidents where ‘failure to look’ was a contributory factor.
In a further 140 incidents, contributory factors included drivers being distracted by things inside the vehicle, outside the vehicle and using their mobile phone at the wheel.
David Peel, managing director of Peugeot UK said: "We all know the dangers of taking your eyes off the road, whether to adjust the radio or the temperature in the car."
"When you add the continued distraction of mobile phones, talking to passengers, something catching your eye outside the car and even eating or drinking a coffee, it’s easy to see how the average driver could be in control of a car yet not be looking at the road for over 3,350 metres in a one hour journey."
Peugeot commissioned the study to promote its new ‘i-Cockpit system – where the speedometer is positioned in the driver’s eye line and the steering wheel is smaller.
It found that drivers spent 5 per cent of the time not looking at the road – rather than 7 per cent – in cars fitted with this configuration.
Luke Bosdet spokesman for the AA said: "This rams home the need for drivers to keep distractions and keep their eyes on the road. It is the unexpected that catches you out – whether it’s the smart phone zombie who steps off the pavement or the deer that charges across the road late at night."
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Originally published at the Daily Mail in the UK.