Understanding possible cognitive distractions when driving

There are many types of distractions when driving. Some of these distractions are obvious. For example, taking a selfie is a huge distraction from the task of driving, and it is easily observable by others. However, other distractions can be equally disruptive to safety when driving but can be very difficult to observe or prove. These types of distractions usually fall under the category of cognitive distractions.

A cognitive distraction is a term to describe any form of mental distraction. A cognitive distraction could occur in combination with another distraction. For example, turning around to the back seat to attend to your children would lead to a visual distraction, since you cannot see the road, as well as a cognitive distraction, since you are thinking about the needs of your children rather than on operating the vehicle. Some examples of cognitive distraction in isolation can be equally as dangerous. The following are some of the possible types of cognitive distractions that can occur when driving.

Socializing in the car

Drivers who regularly travel with many passengers are particularly prone to cognitive distraction. It becomes extremely difficult for the driver to concentrate on driving safely and foreseeing potential hazards when four other people are having a conversation or asking the driver questions in the car. When traveling with other people, remind them that you need to concentrate while driving and that they should be respectful of this.

Feeling stressed

If you are rushing to get to work or you are feeling stressed about the issues you may have to deal with in the workplace, likely, you will not be able to give your full attention to the road. Drivers should try to compartmentalize these thoughts, and address them before getting into the car so that they can focus behind the wheel.

Dealing with distress or grief

Those who have recently been involved in a conflict or experienced a bereavement may not be fit to drive. These types of events can severely affect our ability to drive safely, and many people in such a distressed state of mind have a higher chance of being involved in an accident.

If you have recently been involved in an accident, you may want to try to argue that the other driver was distracted when the collision occurred.

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