The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM)’s chief examiner Peter Rodger is offering advice to drivers on how to use in-car entertainment in the safest ways possible as it can be a possible distraction. Here are his top tips.

  • If you connect your iPod or phone to your car to listen to music, make sure you have connected the device before you set off. Avoid changing songs whilst driving as you will be forced to take your eyes off the road. In the USA a new “two second rule” has been developed – any distraction that takes your eyes off the road for more than two seconds will affect your driving.
  • A multi-function steering wheel can be used to adjust the volume or change CDs – if you have this facility use it where possible as it will help reduce distraction. Having music playing too loudly can also take your mind off the task of driving.
  • Avoid playing music that makes you drive faster – tunes with a strong, driving beat might make you speed up without realising it is happening.
  • Where children get quickly bored on long journeys a rear seat DVD player can keep them occupied – but make sure they have a set of headphones so the sound doesn’t distract the driver.
  • Although a Bluetooth feature is available in most modern cars, we strongly advise you don’t use it to talk when you’re driving – research tells us that this is a major distraction – and remember, it’s illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving.
  • If you have an interactive touch screen with an in-built satellite navigation system, programme all your destination details before you start your journey or while you have stopped safely, the same as you should for a portable satnav.

Peter said: “The pace of development in the field of in-car entertainment has raced forward in recent years. But remember that the journey is why you are in the car, and the entertainment should be used to help you make it safely and never become more important than driving.”