Cognitive distractions and how to remain safe from them

Distracted driving doesn’t always happen because a driver is looking at their phone. Cognitive distraction can happen to anyone and lead to a car accident. Although it’s not always possible to avoid these distractions, there are ways to stay safe on California roads.

Cognitive distractions while driving

Cognitive distractions occur when a driver’s focus and concentration move from the road and driving to something else. This type of distraction doesn’t necessarily involve taking one’s hands off the steering wheel or shifting their eyes from the road.

According to a study from the National Safety Council, cognitive distractions while driving can pose serious risks of a car accident. Drivers who are cognitively distracted can make serious errors behind the wheel. The study found that drivers were more likely to be oblivious to their surroundings, have slower reaction times and have reduced activity in parts of the brain normally active while driving.

Examples of cognitive distraction

A driver can experience a cognitive distraction in many different ways. Something as seemingly harmless as listening to music can lead to a cognitive distraction. Having a hands-free phone conversation or even a conversation with a passenger in the vehicle can also lead to this type of distraction. When a driver isn’t paying full attention to the road, they are at greater risk of a car accident.

Avoiding cognitive distractions to stay safe

Anything that can divert a driver’s attention from their driving and the road ahead is dangerous enough to potentially cause an accident. Staying safe means staying focused on the road at all times. If it’s impossible for a driver to concentrate on the road, they should forgo other activities such as phone calls until they reach their destination.

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