One fifth of parents are repeatedly taking their eyes off the road after being distracted by their children while driving, according to a new study.
Distraction and fatigue were contributory factors in ten per cent of fatalities in road traffic accidents across Great Britain in 2017.
And an alarming survey of mums and dads found they are struggling to concentrate for around 46 minutes per week with their kids in the car.
That is the equivalent of almost a quarter of the time they are on the road.
The survey also revealed children’s behaviour has led to drivers going over the speed limit or ‘considerably’ under it, while more than one-fifth have ‘repeatedly’ taken their eyes off the road.
It also emerged one third find driving with their offspring so stressful they avoid the motorway completely if their kids are in the vehicle.
A car covers 30-metres per second when travelling at 70mph – so the smallest distraction can put motorists and passengers at serious risk.
Nissan, which commissioned the research, has now launched its advanced ‘ProPILOT’ drive-assistance technology on its Qashqai range.
ProPILOT enhances a driver’s control by assisting with steering, acceleration and braking.
Used during single-lane driving, it helps maintain the car’s lane position and distance from the vehicle in front, making road and traffic driving easier, less stressful and more relaxing.
It works in a single lane on highways, and is optimised for low-speed congestion and high-speed cruising. It has been designed to reduce fatigue and stress, whilst improving safety and enhancing control and confidence.
The Qashqai, which is built in Sunderland, is the UK’s best-selling crossover model.
Figures from the Department for Transport revealed 145 people died in car crashes in 2017 when the contributory factor was either fatigue, distraction in vehicle or distraction outside the vehicle.
During the same period 1,035 suffered serious injuries as a result.
Overall, there were 5,755 accidents caused by these factors across Britain – or 15 per day.
A spokesperson for Nissan said: “Any parent knows that family outings aren’t always straightforward.
“The smallest passengers often bring the biggest surprises when you’re trying to concentrate on the road, which can create a stressful time for the parent behind the wheel.
“Driving safely and staying focused should always be the driver’s main priority, and there’s no substitute for this.
“However, knowing your car is fitted with technology that can predict and prevent potentially dangerous situations can help create an overall feeling of calm at the wheel.
“This in turn helps drivers keep their focus firmly on the road ahead.”
The survey of 1,000 UK parents, conducted via OnePoll.com, found 76 per cent agree children of 13-36 months are the most distracting.
The stress of driving with little ones on board leads to 40 per cent of adults feeling anxious while over one third end up arriving at their destination in a bad mood.
A further 20 per cent have gotten lost or taken a wrong turn because their kids ‘put them off’.
And three in 10 admitted having an argument with their partner due to the behaviour of their kids.