Perhaps you are a cautious driver in the sense that you follow road rules and don’t go out of your way to multitask behind the wheel.
However, you might not know that you can still face distractions without lifting your hands off the wheel or looking away from the road. When drivers engage in deep thinking, a dangerous accident can take place.
Types of distractions
Essentially, there are three ways a driver’s attention can shift away from the task of driving. This includes both visual distractions where a driver looks away from the road and manual distractions where a driver takes their hands off the wheel. Visual distractions include looking at a map or looking at passengers in your car. While some common manual distractions include eating, grooming and texting.
The third type of diversion many drivers experience is cognitive in nature. This could include thinking to yourself on a solo drive or having a conversation on the phone or with passengers in your vehicle. Another major source of cognitive distractions are hands-free technology and devices like Bluetooth or Apple CarPlay. This is because even if you aren’t dialing in phone numbers or text messages, you are still using mental power to utilize hands-free tools.
Problem with distractions
The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that distractions in any form can create inattention blindness. This can be harmful behind the wheel because even when drivers have their eyes wide open, their distracted mind can cause them to lose sight of dangers on the road. In fact, research cited by NSC shows that talking on a cell phone increases the likelihood of injuries or property damage by 400%.
Since there are drivers who are inexperienced or drive while impaired, there is no need to engage in cognitive activities that increase your chance of being involved in an accident.