Have you ever noticed that when you're on the phone and watching a film, you simply can't give both your full attention? That's becuase the brain cannot focus on more than one cognitively demanding task at a time, but rather 'toggle tasks'. Now imagine the danger this causes behind the wheel...
A driver is distracted when they pay attention to something else while driving. People simply cannot multi-task, especially while driving, which is considered a 'congnitively demanding' task.
Doing something else while you are driving, puts extra demands on the driver, which may reduce his or her driving capabilities. For example, it may cause the driver to become less observant or to make worse decisions about how to control the vehicle safely. This lower standard of driving means that a driver is more likely to fail to anticipate hazards, and means accidents can occur due to the distraction.
The result is that drivers using a phone to talk, text, or browse the internet are less able to stay in the appropriate lane, detect any changes around them and respond in time. Drivers talking on the phone are also more likely to exceed the speed limit and not maintain a consistent speed. When texting, people often drive at lower speeds, but their delayed reaction time and inability to maintain appropriate lane positions and assess traffic conditions still makes texting while driving extremely dangerous.
Explore the different types of distraction above.
Taking your eyes off the road, even for a split second can have disastrous consquences. A visual distraction can be anything from the passing billboard, to the passenger next to you. One of the most common visual distractions is looking down at your mobile phone. With more and more people owning mobile phones, and the rapid introduction of new “in-vehicle” communication systems, this problem is likely to escalate globally in the coming years.
It is now evident that if you are using a mobile phone while driving you are approximately four times more likely to be involved in a crash than a driver who is not using a phone.
Physical distractions means moving around in the car to do anything other than driving. Taking your hands off the wheel to do other things such as eating and drinking, fiddling with the radio all the way to touching a passanger etc. all lead to physical distractions, which significantly increase your risk of a crash. The best way to stay free from physical distractions is by focusing on the road and using your hands to drive only!
Also known as 'cognitive distraction', this occurs when a driver is thinking about something else other than driving. For example, talking, arguing, speaking on the phone (even using handsfree), shouting at the drivers infront of you, daydreaming etc. are all mental distractions. These mental distractions cause 'inattention blindness' whereby you are blinded to what is happening around you because your mind is elsewhere. While driving, this can be incredibly dangerous as the dynamic nature of the road, in that it is always changing means that you are paying less attention to potential hazards.
Distracted driving is a leading cause of road traffic crashes the world over. One of the most common causes is the use of mobile phones while driving, whether that's talking on a phone, texting, checking your social media profiles or simply browsing, the risks of crashing rise dramatically.