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What is a cognitive driving distraction?

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2023 | Personal Injury

Physical and visual driving distractions are very common and fairly well understood. For instance, someone who reaches for a cup of coffee on their morning commute is suffering from a physical distraction when they let go of the wheel. Someone who is looking at their phone screen is experiencing a visual distraction when they look away from the road. These types of things often happen together. For instance, someone who is holding the phone while looking at it is both visually and physically distracted.

But there are also cognitive distractions, which are mental distractions. How do these happen and how are they different?

They can be more difficult to identify

One of the biggest differences is that a cognitive distraction may be invisible and therefore harder to identify. Someone in the car with the distracted driver would likely believe they weren’t distracted at all because they would be looking at the road and holding the wheel.

But mental distractions can take many forms. Some drivers are thinking about important events in life, like a promotion at work or a disagreement with their spouse. Others are simply bored and trying to shake that boredom by listening to music or talking to passengers.

Still others may find themselves accidentally daydreaming, something that they may not even realize they’re doing until they cause an accident. Have you ever pulled into a driveway or a parking lot and realized you do not remember driving there? This happens to most drivers at some point. Is a cognitive distraction to blame?

Have you been injured?

Distractions are common and cause numerous accidents every day in the United States. If you have suffered serious injuries, you may deserve compensation for medical bills and other costs. Be sure you know what legal steps to take.