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Car accidents can stem from cognitively distracted drivers

Distracted driving is an ongoing and dangerous problem in Oklahoma and across the nation. However, many are unaware of certain facts related to this behavior. According to experts, failure to pay attention results in “cognitive distraction.” Understanding this issue is crucial when trying to stay safe on the road.

Cognitive distraction goes beyond cellphone use behind the wheel

Cellphone use is a significant factor in cognitive distraction, but there are other catalysts. Being cognitively distracted can be linked to a handheld device, but it can also be due to passengers, eating when driving, or seeing something outside the vehicle that draws the driver’s attention and removes it from the road. Around 25% of auto accidents each year involve a driver using a cellphone. In these collisions, more than 3,000 people are killed. Teens are especially vulnerable to cellphone use with one-quarter checking it at least once every time they drive.

Thinking hands-free devices are a reasonable solution is unwise because any kind of behavior that requires a driver to divert their focus from the road is, by itself, distracting. If a vehicle is traveling at 55 mph, simply looking away for four seconds for any reason is comparable to driving a full football field while wearing a blindfold. Obviously, this can play a foundational role in car accidents.

Avoiding distracted driving accidents is not a skill

Drivers frequently believe they have the reaction time and experience to drive distracted and prevent collisions. This is a mistake and the main reason they are avoiding accidents is generally because of good luck and that other drivers are paying attention to what they are doing. After an accident, it is imperative to understand how and why it happened as this can be critical to assessing all options.