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Outside pressure leads to distracted driving

When you think about distracted driving, and specifically about people using the phone in the car, you probably picture someone deciding to pick up their phone to text a friend or make a call. Before that, they just had the phone in their pocket or quietly sitting on the seat next to them. The decision to embrace the distraction was theirs alone.

These accidents definitely do happen, and plenty of drivers actively pick distraction over paying attention to the road. They're often addicted to their phones and they do not know how to take a break. However, it is dangerous to assume that they are always acting on their own impulses. Outside pressure also comes into play, and it can make them choose distraction when they would not have otherwise.

Work messages

For instance, one report asked those between 18 years old and 34 years old if they "felt a high degree of pressure to respond" if they got a message that was related to work while behind the wheel. If their boss texted them and the phone buzzed with the incoming message, did they feel like they had no choice but to answer it? More than a third (37%) said that they did.

For the sake of comparison, they looked at the same issue for all age groups. When they did that, about a quarter (25%) made the same claim -- saying they felt a high degree of pressure. It's clear that it impacts young workers the most, but it is something that all workers have to deal with at times.

Any incoming information

The reality is that any incoming information can turn into outside pressure. As noted, phone addiction is often a problem for drivers. When your phone buzzes, it could mean:

  • A friend texted you
  • Someone contacted you on social media
  • You got an email
  • Someone tried to call you
  • Someone liked a photo or status that you posted
  • And much more

It all depends on how you have your notifications set up. What is true, though, is that many people who struggle with addiction respond to these notifications instantly. They're used to doing so and they have conditioned themselves to feel like that fast response is necessary.

If they stepped back to think about it, it's obviously not worth risking a car accident to see who liked a picture on social media. They can check it at any time. But their conditioning means they respond to outside pressure quickly and get distracted from the road.

After a crash

If you get into an accident with a distracted driver, you may end up with high medical bills and other costs. Make sure you know what rights you have after the crash.

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