Driving distractions can be physical – when a person lets go of the steering wheel – or visual, which is when they look away from the road. But distractions can also be cognitive, and these are a bit harder to prevent. Drivers may appear to be engaged and alert when they are actually significantly distracted.
To understand how these cognitive or mental distractions occur, let’s take a look at two examples.
Getting lost in thought
To start with, some studies claim that drivers getting lost in thought cause the majority of distracted, driving accidents. This can just happen when someone’s mind wanders or they zone out behind the wheel. They don’t do it intentionally, and they may not even realize that it’s happening until after the fact.
For example, someone may drive the same route every day for their commute to work and back. This eventually becomes so familiar that they don’t pay attention, and they may get back home after a long day in the office with no memory of driving there.
Engaging with other mental tasks
In other cases, drivers should know that they are distracted because they are intentionally doing something that takes their mind off of driving the car. Maybe they’re talking to a passenger. Maybe they’re talking on the phone. Perhaps they are singing along with the music or listening to an audiobook that they downloaded. Giving mental energy to these other tasks takes it away from driving the car, making an accident more likely.
Even if you avoid driving distractions, you could be injured by another negligent driver. Make sure you know what legal options you have to seek financial compensation.