We are all pretty familiar with the typical distractions faced by motor vehicle drivers. Some common culprits are cell phones, GPS devices, rambunctious kids, pesky pets and munching on food or gulping a soda while trying to steer.
But there is an ominous newcomer to the traditional list of driver distractions: your dashboard. Dashboards have gotten so sophisticated that the tech itself can be an immense, dangerous distraction even though you may not even realize it.
In fact, one expert claims that automakers have outfitted vehicles with so many gadgets, knobs, sleek entertainment systems and dials that they are “a candy store of distraction. And we are killing people.”
What’s to worry about?
The human brain can only process a limited amount of information simultaneously. When you are driving, you already have a near-overload of data to manage. Besides watching the road and being aware of what’s going on all around your vehicle at all times, you also have to be particularly alert for the unexpected, like a child running into the street after a ball.
You are reading street signs and interpreting traffic signals. You are listening for other cars’ honking horns, sirens from police cars and ambulances and oncoming train whistles. Throw a fancy dashboard touch screen or entertainment system into the mix, and you can be distracted to the point of being frazzled.
In more formal terms, it’s called “cognitive overload,” which puts a driver, their passengers and other drivers and passengers at risk for an accident.
What if a distracted driver injures you?
All drivers should pay rigorous, undivided attention to driving – but many do not. If you are involved in a collision caused by a distracted driver and are hurt, compensation may be available. It can get you and your family through the rough period when you are recuperating and unable to work because of your injuries.