Despite what most of us would like to believe, studies have shown that our brains simply cannot perform two or more mentally demanding tasks at the same time in an effective way. Driving is one such mentally demanding task that requires your full concentration.
What has become clear, thanks to these studies, is that our brains toggle between tasks. In other words, our focus shifts back and forth between the two tasks. One task receives our attention while the other falls to the side. It goes back and forth in this manner until one or both tasks are completed. The idea that you can truly focus on two tasks at once is, therefore, a dangerous myth.
Because of the risks of distracted driving, always keep your focus on the road. Be wary of anything that can cause your mind to wander, your eyes to move from the roadway, or your focus to otherwise wane. There are three main types of distractions worth taking a closer look at:
1. Visual Distractions Caused By A Wandering Eye
The first type of distraction is visual. You take your eyes off the road, no matter how quickly, to look at something else. It may be your passenger, a billboard, your radio, or a pedestrian. One of the most common visual distractions in today’s modern age is the cell phone. Whether you are holding your phone in your hand or looking at your phone’s screen via your visual dashboard, you are distracted.
Here is a fact: You are four times more likely to be involved in a car accident if you use your phone, in any manner, while driving.
2. Physical Distractions Cause You To Let Go Of The Wheel
As soon as you take one or both hands off the wheel to do something else, you are said to be physically distracted. Think of all the things you do or have seen others do while behind the wheel. Eating, drinking, grooming, touching a person or pet, changing the station on the radio, grabbing something out of a bag, etc. All of these things are physical distractions. They mean that your hands are maintaining your steering and that, in an emergency situation, your reaction times are slowed. That can lead to an accident faster than you can blink.
3. Mental Distractions Are All In Your Head
We all have those days where we are nothing short of overwhelmed. We may have a huge project due. We might have had a fight with a partner right before walking out the door. We could be thinking about an outing after work. All of those things may be running through our minds at once!
Think about this: have you ever arrived at a location that you travel to frequently and not been able to remember what route you used to get there, or you wondered how you got there so quickly when, in reality, it took you just as long as it always has? This is a telltale sign of letting your mind wander during a trip. Inattention blindness is the term for those mental distractions. Any and all of these cause you to lose focus on the road.
Why Is It All So Dangerous?
Distracted driving is the leading cause of roadway accidents around the world. Tens of thousands of collisions are caused by someone who was distracted. It has been said that taking your eyes off the road is not as quick as people think. You can cover the length of a football field before you look up again if you are driving at normal highway speeds. Imagine all that can happen in that span, and you can see why accidents are not only more likely — but also more deadly.
Distracted Driving Is Absolutely Preventable
Much like impaired driving, accidents caused by distracted driving are 100% preventable. Here are some tips that may help you stay more focused on the task at hand:
- Keep your phone out of reach if you know you will be tempted by it.
- If passengers are getting too loud, ask them to tone it down.
- Keep pets harnessed in the backseat or safely tucked away in a carrier.
- Create a playlist, or decide what you want to listen to and put it on before you shift the car into drive.
- If you are expecting an important call or message, ask a passenger to do the communicating for you, or pull over.
- If you are feeling emotional, take steps to calm yourself down before you slide behind the wheel, or wait until you are in a better headspace to get on the road.
- Remember the responsibility you are taking on by driving. It’s an easy one to forget!
We all have busy lives, and it can be difficult to get in our vehicles and do “nothing” but drive. That is exactly what we are tasked with doing! If you cannot focus your full attention on the road, pull over and take care of what needs to be done or wait to drive altogether. If everyone followed these simple tips, we would all be that much safer on the road.
We Are Here When You Need An Advocate After an Accident
If you have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver in Long Island, the team at TonaLaw is here for you. We have decades of experience and an established reputation for success.
Call our office at 1-833-TONALAW, or contact us online. We will help you determine whether you have grounds for a successful claim and, if so, present you with your legal options. We are ready to fight for the compensation to which you may be entitled!