Though traffic has dropped significantly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our roads have only gotten more dangerous. On a typical day, more than 700 people are still injured in distracted driving crashes. Talking on a cell phone – even hands-free – or texting or programming an in-vehicle infotainment system diverts your attention away from driving. Keep yourself and others around you safe and #justdrive.
The distracted driving problem
Distracted driving is inattention that occurs when drivers divert their attention from driving to focus on another activity. Distractions may be from using electronic devices such as cell phones or navigation systems, or other types of distractions such as eating or even talking to passengers.
Most people recognize when they are visually and/or manually distracted and seek to disengage from these activities as quickly as possible. However, people typically do not realize when they are cognitively distracted.
Types of distracted driving
Cognitive: The mental workload associated with a task that involves thinking about something other than driving
Manual: Tasks that require the driver to take a hand off the steering wheel and manipulate a device
Visual: Tasks that require the driver to look away from the roadway
Visual/Manual: Tasks that draw eyes and a hand off steering wheel to manipulate a device
Types of Tasks
Primary – Task that receives higher cognitive focus
Secondary – Task that is monitored in the background
The Results of Distraction
Looking but not seeing: inattention blindness
Vision is the most important way drivers get the information they need to drive safely. Yet drivers using cell phones have a tendency to “look at” but not “see” objects.
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