It’s easy to think of distracted driving as something that happens outside of your own mind. You’re watching the road, for instance, when your child starts calling for assistance with a snack from the back seat. You’re holding the steering wheel when your phone buzzes, and you let go of the wheel to pick it up.
Things like this definitely are distractions, and they do cause serious car accidents. But they’re not the only distractions you face. In fact, even your own thoughts can distract you from the road.
For instance, some experts have listed “pondering a distressing event” as a cognitive distraction. This may happen without any conscious decision on your part. Your mind just wanders, and that’s one of the most important things on your mind at that time.
Say that your boss comes in to your office at the end of the day. They tell you that the company is going to downsize. They don’t know who is getting let go yet, but they wanted to give you a heads-up.
On that drive home, you’ll likely start wondering if it’s you. If it is, you’ll begin worrying about paying the bills or making ends meet. You might start thinking about what it means for your career. You may even get angry; how dare they fire you after you worked for the company for so long?
You don’t even know if you’re actually going to lose your job or not. However, just the suggestion can be enough to take your mind off of the road.
Understanding this risk may help you avoid it. However, other distracted drivers may still hit you, and you need to know the legal options you have if they do.