We’ve all heard the warning about distracted driving, usually attributed to cell phone usage and texting, but there are other things inside of the car and outside of the car that can be just as distracting. While distracted driving sounds dangerous, it isn’t uncommon for drivers to have their attention unintentionally taken from the road, and it still happens to even the most experienced of drivers. It seems like most of the time that we are guilty of letting our mind or eyes wander nothing happens, but it only takes a few seconds for a car accident to occur.
Distractions outside of the car
There is almost always something going on outside of our cars, whether it be pedestrians, stores, or other cars. When traffic gets heavy, we are constantly analyzing the cars around us, traffic patterns, and changes in the flow of traffic. While that can be productive and is essential for safely navigating around other cars, it can also be distracting, as our attention is being split in completely different directions.
The distraction that comes with navigating traffic is a big reason why car manufacturers have developed safety systems like lane change assist and blind-spot monitoring. Using the rearview mirror and side-view mirrors alone to try and determine if it is safe to change lanes actually demands a substantial amount of attention in heavy traffic, and that traffic requires our eyes to be focused on the road ahead of us and beside us as opposed to in front of us.
Systems that allow us to keep our eyes forward-facing and effectively determine where other cars are around us is an important step forward in reducing distracting but necessary driving habits. There are a lot of car safety features that come in handy, but some of them could actually be just as distracting.
Distractions inside the car
As technology becomes more readily available we see the introduction of new and better devices into cars, and if there is one thing that people look at when buying a new car, it’s the infotainment system. The infotainment system can handle everything from navigation to music, but it can also be one of the most distracting devices that drivers interact with.
Touch screen infotainment systems have become even more advanced than we could have ever imagined, providing the user with any number of options and a seemingly endless amount of buttons to press and screens to navigate. Many drivers find themselves looking to the infotainment screen for one reason or another, and it can be just as distracting as using a cell phone.
The front seat infotainment system isn’t the only thing drivers find themselves fiddling with either, as many family-oriented cars include features to keep back-seat passengers happy. Rear-seat screens for television and games can also be distracting to the driver because they rarely have the ability for the driver to control them remotely from the front. For old kids, this isn’t a problem, but for younger kids that constantly want help getting to Paw Patrol sometimes, we can’t help but turn around to help.
Distracted driving isn’t entirely preventable, and even though we may try our hardest to be safe driving even a few moments of lapsed attention or attention in the wrong direction can lead to a potential accident.