NAMPA and BOISE, Idaho. Scientists are studying the way the brain responds to driving in order to determine exactly why texting and driving is as dangerous as it is. Besides the obvious factors—texting takes your eyes off the road, and engages the use of your hands, which should be on the steering wheel, texting and driving also has an effect on the way the brain defends us from danger. According to Motherboard, texting and driving takes away the brain’s “sixth sense” that steps in when our cars drift into other lanes, for instance.
The study looked at several different types of distracted driving, among them emotional stress, absentmindedness, and texting and driving. Drivers were put behind the wheel and were asked emotionally challenging questions, cognitively challenging questions, or they were asked to text and drive. While all kinds of distractions affected the individuals’ ability to drive, only texting and driving resulted in serious problems, like drifting out of one’s lane.
The researchers believe that texting and driving may be more dangerous because it impacts a part of the brain responsible for correcting errors. Under normal driving conditions, or mildly distracting driving conditions, that part of the brain keeps working as it should. But, when a person looks at his or her phone, the part of the brain that corrects for errors is not focused on the road.
According to Nature, the researchers wanted to understand whether emotional stressors could be put in the same category as texting and driving. While intuitively we seem to understand that emotion can affect driving, the researchers wanted to understand exactly how much a role emotion plays. The results of the study show that while emotion does affect driving in small ways, it doesn’t affect driving to a degree that would be noticeable—largely because of the brain’s ability to correct for any small errors that do take place.
So, while it’s not likely that the police will charge you for driving while daydreaming, you can be charged if you text and drive. And, this is for good reason. Your car can travel long distances while you are looking down to send a single text.
Distracted driving of any kind should be avoided. When people drive under distraction, the results can be tragic. Every day countless people die or are injured due to distracted driving. If you or a loved one has been hurt due to a distracted driver, contact the accident lawyers at the Law Office of Johnson & Lundgreen today.
Distracted driving can lead to serious injuries, loss of life, and result in financial challenges for families affected. The law offers important protections to victims of distracted or negligent driving. You may be entitled to receive a recovery for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and nursing or rehabilitative care. Visit https://johnsonandlundgreen.com/ to learn more about how to protect your rights and the rights of your loved ones.