It bleeps, buzzes, blinks and rings. Your phone wants your attention and it has all sorts of tricks to get it. The problem is that our phones, tablets and in-dash entertainment centers are often pulling our attention away from the road and traffic while we drive.
A new study shows that while all of us can be distracted, some people and personality types are more prone to being distracted than others. Those who are most likely to be distracted while behind the wheel are young men, those of us who drive frequently and those drivers who are neurotic or have extroverted personalities.
The study was recently published in Frontiers in Psychology by a researcher at Norway’s Institute of Transport Economics.
High on the list of people who are prone to distracted driving are those who do not believe that they can control distractions. Less likely to be distracted: people who believe that they can control their behavior, and older women.
Distracted driving continues to grow as a road safety problem. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, at least 14 percent of all motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. involve a distracted driver.
While the new research is interesting, it is not definitive, says the manager of the statistics group at the U.S. National Safety Council. The problem, he says, is that the survey relies on self-reporting.
“It’s very difficult for human beings to be so aware of themselves and to respond to questions on behavior,” Ken Kolosh says. People are pretty good at spotting others who are driving while distracted, but tend to underestimate the behavior in themselves.
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