Distracted driving is a well-known safety issue, and yet it is one that many people fail to appropriately address. Plenty of people text while driving, and their only concern is the possibility of a traffic ticket if they get caught.
Even those who don’t have their phones in their hands while actively driving can still cause distracted driving collisions related to their mobile devices. When you learn more about how phones distract drivers, you will be in a better position to avoid distraction yourself and to hold someone accountable if their bad decisions about how they use their mobile devices led to a collision.
What are two of the surprising ways that phones cause distraction?
The notifications cause mental distraction
Mobile phone distraction doesn’t just come from looking down at a screen or taking your hands off of the wheel to type. Thinking about your phone and the message that may have just come in can be enough to increase your risk of a crash.
Researchers have found that those receiving text message notifications while driving can be up to three times as likely as others to cause a distraction-related collision. It can distract drivers just to hear their devices vibrating, even if they never pick the phone up to look at it.
Phones distract drivers after their use
Some people think that they can avoid the cognitive impact of mobile phone distraction by only using their devices at intersections when they have to come to a complete stop. They will then set their phone down before proceeding forward with the rest of traffic.
The problem with this approach is that it can take as long as 27 seconds for the cognitive consequences of mobile phone use to end after you put your phone back down. In other words, simply setting a phone down while driving isn’t enough to avoid the distraction that mobile devices often cause.
You may want to have the police look into someone’s data usage after a car crash, as that may uncover either incoming test messages or messages sent shortly before the collision. Holding someone accountable for causing a distracted driving crash can compensate you for both property damage and the financial consequences of an injury.