Surprising Cognitive Driver Distractions
When most people think of distracted driving, they likely think of texting, checking Facebook, emailing, or other similar handheld mobile device activities. However, several other seemingly innocuous occurrences can be distracting enough to lead to an accident. The following are examples of surprising cognitive driver distractions that should be avoided whenever possible.
In-Car “Infotainment” Systems
In response to the dangers of looking at a smartphone or GPS device, various vehicle manufacturers have begun installing in-car infotainment systems that can be voice-controlled. Drivers may assume that these systems are automatically safe to use because they do not require a driver to remove his or her hands from the wheel. However, using voice commands to dictate text messages and emails, program a GPS, change the radio, or make phone calls can cause significant cognitive distractions.
Cognitive distractions occur when a driver loses focus on the task of driving because he or she is concentrating on something else. Drivers often underestimate the effects of a cognitive distraction and, for this reason, safety experts question the safety of these voice-controlled systems.
Cell Phone Notifications
Researchers from Florida State University (FSU) conducted a study which showed how hearing a cell phone notification can be distracting enough to cause dangerous driving errors. Hearing a ringtone, or even a simple vibration notification, can cause a person to lose focus even if he or she does not check the device. A driver may believe he or she is being safe by having his or her phone set aside or placed in a purse. Still, the driver may lose focus from the road if his or her phone is not set to silent.
Listening to Podcasts or Audiobooks
In lieu of music, drivers may choose to spend their time in a car listening to podcasts or audiobooks. However, many of these have complex plot lines, numerous characters, and may require a significant amount of concentration to follow. Simply listening to such programs or stories can cause drivers to “get lost” and lose focus on the road.
The above are just a few examples of ways that technology can cause cognitive distractions. Too many drivers believe that they are being safe as long as they use hands-free technology. This is not always the case, however, and drivers can become dangerously distracted even if their hands never leave the steering wheel or if their eyes never leave the road.
An Experienced Auto Accident Attorney in Green Bay and Appleton Can Help You
Any type of distracted driving can be dangerous and drivers should realize when they need to focus solely on the road to avoid accidents. If a distracted driver caused your injuries, you should not delay in consulting with an experienced Appleton personal injury lawyer or Green Bay personal injury lawyer at the Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd. We offer free consultations and have offices in Appleton, Green Bay, Oshkosh, and New London, so call us today for help at 920-739-7366.