Driving a motor vehicle requires someone’s full focus. The best practices for driving include keeping both hands on the wheel, one’s visual focus on the road ahead and one’s mental focus on the challenges of driving. Distraction can increase someone’s reaction time when something unexpected happens in traffic. They may fail to notice a child in the road or a vehicle stopped ahead of them until it is too late to avoid a crash. The stress involved in recognizing that issue ahead could also compromise their decision-making ability.
People are largely aware that they shouldn’t handle their mobile phones or tablets at the wheel, but they may overlook other equally-dangerous forms of distraction. What could make someone lose their focus when attempting to reach their destination safely while driving?
1. Children in the backseat
Parents are subject to a constant demand for attention from their children and may not ever realize the cognitive strain such demand causes. Children are a dangerous distraction that parents often don’t realize takes their focus off of the road.
2. A meal or snack
Most people don’t think anything of drinking a cup of coffee on the way to work or grabbing lunch on the way to an off-site appointment. People tell themselves that they can drive safely with one hand on the wheel, ignoring how very active eating or drinking takes their mental focus off of the road. Additionally, they will almost invariably increase their reaction time and put themselves at risk of causing a crash if they drop something or burn themselves.
3. A daydream or a to-do list
Maybe the song that just came on the radio reminded the driver of their high school prom, and they start reminiscing about how beautiful all their friends looked. Perhaps someone is on their way home from work and planning out the perfect Friday night with their romantic partner.
Many people have become so accustomed to traveling the same route every day to and from work that they don’t remain mentally focused even though traffic conditions can change in an instant. Internal distraction is as dangerous as looking away or moving hands off of the steering wheel. Drivers who understand that distraction comes in many forms can avoid distracted driving and better monitor their surroundings for signs of distracted driving in others.
Seeking legal guidance and speaking up after a distracted driving crash in order to hold irresponsible motorists accountable can compensate those who have been harmed by the ill-advised choices of others.