Why Can’t We Stop being Distracted while Driving?

Why Do We Drive Distracted?

Why do most drivers respond to the ping of their phones while driving? The answer, according to Young Drivers of Canada could lie in the brain. Researchers believe that drivers are addicted to their phones and when they ping to provide an alter to a text or social update, a burst of dopamine is released in active parts of the brain. Sounds strange? Well, this explanation may be the reason why so many drivers cannot put their phones away while driving.

Many drivers feel the need to respond to the ping of their phone. There have been numerous reports of fatal collisions involving drivers who were distracted by their smartphones. Technology, specifically phones are affecting the way we think. When we hear a notification, there is the compulsion to answer it. This need is triggered by the release of dopamine in the brain, a stimulating chemical that provides a reward experience. The centre affected resulting in the reward experience is similar to satisfaction received from eating or alcohol, drugs and other activities.

Drivers Have Confidence in Their Multitasking Skills

Our brains have a way of providing us with confidence even though there many be tragic circumstances as a result. When drivers check their messages, send a text or respond to an email while driving, a false sense of security to multitask is created. Drivers rationalize their behaviour by justifying that nothing bad occurred when they checked their phones so why would something bad ever happen if they do it again. The problem is that nothing may happen the first time but in the event of an unexpected circumstance, the result may be quite different. Multitasking is a false sense of security that drivers have bought into.

Drivers need to come to grips with the notion that smartphones are addictive and to prevent distracted driving; drivers need to exercise self-control. Phones should be turned off or put away to stop responding to the ping! By eliminating the device, our brain will re-program and focus on the task of driving!