As many as a third of young British drivers have taken a "selfie" while at the wheel, according to a survey.

Such self-distracting behaviour is worse among young Britons than among any of six other European countries, the survey from the Ford Motor Company showed.

While 33% of Britons aged 18-24 confessed to taking a selfie while driving, the figure for Germany was 28%, with France also 28%, Romania, 27%, Italy 26%, Spain 18% and Belgium 17%.

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The survey, of 7,000 smartphone users aged 18-24 across Europe, also showed 25% had used social media sites behind the wheel, with male drivers the worst offenders.

Ford said snapping a selfie at the wheel could distract a driver for 14 seconds, while checking social media distracts for as much as 20 seconds - long enough, at 60mph, to travel the length of five football pitches.

"Taking a selfie has for many young people quickly become an integral part of everyday life. But it's the last thing you should be doing behind the wheel of a car," said Jim Graham, manager of Ford's Driving Skills for Life programme.

He went on: "It is deeply worrying that so many young drivers admit to taking a photo while driving and we will be doing all we can to highlight the potential dangers through driver education."