Smoking inside a vehicle is a harmful bad habit, both in terms of health and road safety. On occasion of World No Tobacco Day on May 31, we list the reasons why smoking and driving are incompatible.
1- When you smoke inside a vehicle, you are not only harming your health but also the health of the other passengers. They automatically become passive smokers. According to the French Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Women's Rights, the concentration of particles on the rear seats of cars is ten times higher than in the driver's seat and is three times the maximum average level admitted by the WHO.
2- It is a distraction. Lighting the cigarette, flicking the ash and putting it out. Taking your eyes off the road, having one hand fully occupied. According to the Traffic Agency (DGT), at least 5% of traffic accidents could be caused by smoking inside the vehicle.
3- A slower reaction to unpredictable events. As well as distracting, holding a cigarette makes the driver react slower to unpredictable situations on the road. Changing gears or turning the steering wheel are not carried out as quickly if there is only one hand totally available. Remember, we need both hands, especially if we want to turn or maneuver.
4-Smoke can affect our vision and irritate our eyes. Keep in mind that we receive most information with our eyes, which is especially important when behind the wheel.
5-Smoking can cause coughing. Having a coughing attack while driving can be very dangerous, as it forces you to take your eyes off the road.
6-Illnesses associated and worsened by tobacco and which also, of course, affect the ability to drive. For example, a person with allergies may feel their symptoms worsen if they smoke.
7- Many countries such as England or France have banned smoking in the car if there are minors. Although it is not explicitly legislated in Spain, penalties may be imposed for this same reason. The current General Traffic Regulations in Spain state "a vehicle driver must have freedom of movement, the necessary field of vision and permanent attention to driving, must ensure his/her own safety, that of the other occupants of the vehicle and that of other road users".
This leads us to understand that any element preventing the driver from moving properly can be sanctioned, since it would be putting the safety of the driver and his/her passengers at risk.