With an increased number of traffic accidents with fatal outcomes, the topic of traffic safety has become taboo. It is estimated that over 95% of car accidents on the road happen due to human error. Thus, it is not surprising that a majority of these incidents happen because of the driver’s inattention. Long drives may be quite challenging, and the number of events that can take place just during a single ride is astounding. The actions of the other drivers, children arguing in the back of the car, changing the radio station, spilled coffee, animals on the road—all these details can significantly alter the course of a normal ride. Things are even more complicated if you are commuting a long distance. Early hours, long rides, and not enough sleep can have a negative impact on the driver’s attention. So, if you are a commuter, then you spend some time on the road every day, and these are the situations you should pay attention to.
The Link Between Phone Conversations and Visual Attention
Namely, there is a strong link between phone conversations and visual attention. Based on some experiments’ results, there is strong evidence suggesting that cognitive responses to road situations are considerably delayed due to phone conversations. No matter if the conversation is “easy” or “difficult,” the response is significantly slowed down. These slowed-down reactions happen even when using wireless devices. Hence, in all the different experimental environments that imitated road occurrences, the drivers who were talking on their mobile phones during their rides had delayed responses in comparison to those who were not.
The possible outcome of the slowed-down responses is so-called lapses in concentration. With such gaps in your focus, you will experience the state that is known as “change blindness,” which refers to the important things you miss out on during your ride so that they can be turned into life-threatening situations. Therefore, the safest option is to skip the calls during the ride. Or, on the other hand, if it is an urgent call, then you should pull off the road and take the call.
Events Out of the Vehicle
It is natural to stay focused on the events on the road and beware of the potential dangers. However, “rubbernecking” (turning your head during the ride) to observe an accident or roadside event can be extremely hazardous. According to some estimates, nearly 20,000 car accidents happened in Oklahoma City alone in 2018. Over 7% of accidents happen because of roadside distractions. So, for instance, if you turn your head to observe the event, and the driver before you does the same thing, you will not have enough time to stop and prevent a collision. Just as a renowned Moore car accident attorney highlights, some accidents are minor and easily settled, while others have serious outcomes, leading to severe or debilitating injuries. Hence, having all of your attention on the road and staying within the speed limits and safe car distance will keep you safe from dangerous situations.
Reaching for the Stuff from the Vehicle
Going through stuff in your car and reaching for it will seriously distract you from the road. Fishing through the purse, taking a phone call, or using your hands for other objects instead of holding the wheel will contribute to losing control over the car and eventually going through an accident. According to some statistics, roaming through your car while driving is among the most common causes of traffic accidents. When it comes to some other distractions, they include smoking, eating, drinking, doing makeup, adjusting the radio, and some other causes. Therefore, the main responsibility of all drivers is to exercise responsible behavior on the road.
Another incredibly important thing you need to focus on is absolute concentration on the road. A huge number of accidents, even 62%, happen because of cognitive detachment during rides. This is especially dangerous when commuting. Lack of sleep and stressful days at work can be among the causes of accidents. It is crucial to stay focused on the road as much as possible. Also, if the previously mentioned factors are too overwhelming, then you should probably stop driving until you come to your senses.
Driving is a responsible task, even though many of us do not take it seriously since it is a part of our everyday routine. However, nothing changes the fact that driving is a task that affects your and someone else’s security and thus should be approached with this attitude. When commuting, you should try to eliminate distractions that may pose serious situations and focus on coming home safely.
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