Which distraction is the most dangerous for drivers?

by | Oct 7, 2016 | Car Accidents

Distracted driving is more than just texting. Driving distracted means that kids are screaming in the backseat, you’re drinking a latte, talking on the phone, and checking out the car crash on the side of the road. While most people only do one of these at a time, distracted driving is a growing problem which causes motor vehicle accidents every day. A study has recently looked into what is the most dangerous type of driving distraction.

Typically when people talk about distracted driving they relate it to texting, but a recent study conducted by University of Houston and Texas A&M Transportation sought to find out which kind of distraction was truly the worst. They looked into the effects of strong emotions, distracted thoughts, and being on the phone while behind the wheel.

Is it strong emotion, distracted thoughts, or your smartphone?

In the study researchers asked people to drive through a simulation while they were asked emotionally charged questions, difficult questions, and while they tried to text. Researchers determined their level of distraction by measuring sweat levels, their steering steadiness, and lane swerving.

After measuring the effects of each distraction, researchers were able to determine what you might already have guessed. Texting is still the most dangerous distraction. They concluded that while driving under stress that most people can still react instinctually for last minute decisions. Let’s say that you are daydreaming and someone slams on the breaks. The “fight or flight” part of your brain is still active and will react accordingly.

The problem with texting is that “fight or flight” response in your brain is unable to work, causing a major delay in reaction. A hand-eye coordination is required for the automatic response that is utilized while texting. Therefore sending a text on the freeway can be way more dangerous than trying to yell over fighting kids in the backseat.

An increasing amount of distracted drivers are getting in accidents every day. 10 percent of fatal crashes, 18 percent of injury crashes, and 16 percent of total motor vehicle crashes have been reported as distraction related. Therefore it is important to realize when to put the phone down keep the most dangerous distraction out of reach. As anyone who has been hit by a distracted driver can tell you: that text is just not worth it. If you or someone in your family has been hit by a distracted driver then you should contact an attorney to help you gain back compensation that you deserve.


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