A worrying number of women are rushing their make-up during rush hour - behind the wheel. Annie Vischer holds up the proverbial STOP sign

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In a shocking estimation by insurers it has been revealed that around 450,000 accidents a year are likely to be caused by female drivers applying make-up at the wheel. In a recent poll, almost 50% of women admitted applying make-up while driving, with 46% opting for a last minute primping session while at traffic lights or queuing.

No doubt we’ll have all witnessed a methodical application of cosmetics by a fellow commuter at some point in our travels, whether it be on the tube, train or bus. The spectacle seems to have gathered an enraptured audience too - take a look around and you’ll see no one can help but watch.

Sometimes you look on in awe, impressed by the flattering shades and impressively honed routine that’s flawless despite all those bumps and turns. Other times you might bite your lip to stop yourself from screaming ‘put the bronzer down!’. Either way, this is all harmless when sat in a vehicle being driven by another person whose hands are both firmly on the wheel; in a car that you’re in control of, not so much.

It might seem fairly innocent to bumble to a stop at the end of a long queue of traffic, flip down the mirror in the sun shield and swipe a layer of lipstick on before the queue begins to shuffle ahead in front, but combine the temptation to do this more frequently together with the unpredictability of other drivers and you get a recipe for accidents.

Earlier this year in Mexico, the situation became so pronounced that MINI Cooper created an advert  appealing to women to stop applying make-up while driving. They set up airbags in ladies’ loos to spontaneously inflate in front of unsuspecting women mid-make-up top-up. Though the film itself was on the comical side, the message was clear and emphatic. There’s a time and a place for everything; there is no time for make-up whilst driving .

Turning make-up artist at the wheel is not the mark of a talented multi-tasker, it is a sign of disorganisation. Set the alarm ten minutes earlier, make your outfit choices the night before, or dare to arrive into work bare faced. Any adjustments needed to avoid reaching for the mascara wand as the light turns red will be minor and well worth making.

Then sit back, relax and use the time in a queue to breathe, and do nothing. Sometimes, all you superwomen out there, it’s actually rather nice.