Distracted Driving: Complacency & Situational Awareness

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Distracted Driving: Complacency & Situational Awareness

April 16, 2021

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How many times have you been hurt when you were thinking about what you were doing, and the risk of what you were doing, at the exact instant when you were injured?
  2. Think back to a time when you were injured; Did your perception of your situation matchup to reality? Right before you were injured, did you feel you were safe enough already?

You probably answered (1) Not very often and (2) I wasn’t paying attention and thought I couldn’t or wasn’t going to get hurt.

The aforementioned conditions describe complacency and, the lack of, situational awareness respectively and can be summed up as being overly satisfied or comfortable with an existing situation or condition; often while unaware of some potential danger or hazard.

Essentially, the core elements of distracted driving are complacency and not being situationally aware.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few causes of distracted driving. But lets focus on the main culprit – the cell phone. According to the National Safety drivers talking on cell phones (including hands free) miss seeing up to 50% of their driving environments including pedestrians and red lights. Drivers look but they do not see! This phenomenon is also known as inattention blindness, where the brain cannot process the visual information properly which essentially is like being partially and temporarily blind. The bottom line is that a driver cannot be situationally aware while using a cell phone.

However, a collision does not occur every time someone uses a phone while driving, which leads drivers to be overconfident in their abilities / no longer fearful or apprehensive of driving dangers. In other words, not experiencing a collision while driving distracted creates complacency. When performing a dangerous task repeatedly without negative consequences a false sense of security is created which is then continually reinforced until a negative event occurs.

Fortunately, there are proven methods to reduce or eliminate complacency and improve situational awareness while driving, which will be discussed during the April 29th LyonsEDU Distracted Driving webinar. To register please use the following link: https://www.lyonsinsurance.com/resources/lyonsedu-seminars/