What are Visual Distractions While Driving?

12 Feb 2019

When your fleet drivers are driving your vehicles, you expect them to do their very best to avoid distractions and pay attention to the road. But, there are a number of things that can distract your drivers, even unintentional. One type of distraction is visual distractions.

Visual distractions are actually one of the more common types of distractions for most drivers. These are distractions that take the driver’s eyes and focus off the road, even for mere seconds. These could include adjusting vehicle devices like the GPS or radio to viewing text messages from their phone. Any type of visual distraction will keep the driver from focusing straight ahead where they’re supposed to be looking to drive safely.

Visual driving distractions, whether they’re intended or not, can disrupt perception, recognition and other cognitive behaviors.

There are three main types of visual distractions while driving.

  1. The first type is where the visual field of the driver is blocked where he needs to be looking while he’s driving — the front, rear and sides of the vehicle.
  2. The second is when the driver doesn’t look at these areas and focuses instead for a certain period of time on a different visual object, creating an issue with safe driving.
  3. The third is where the driver’s attention wanders from being distracted from his driving.

Any of these types of visual distractions can impede safe driving.

Some examples of visual distractions that will take your fleet driver’s focus and eyes off the road are:

  • Changing the radio
  • Looking or reaching for things in the car
  • Operating a GPS
  • Observing billboards
  • Putting makeup on
  • Reading smartphone messages
  • Browsing a playlist
  • Adjusting the temperature controls

Visual distractions lead to the driver driving blind. They’re dangerous because the driver can’t identify potential hazards or assess their surroundings anymore.

Vehicles are subject to stringent visibility conditions like only apply certain stickers on windshields, mirrors need to compensate for vehicle blind spots and glass tinting needs to allow no less than 70 percent light transmission.

How to Prevent Distracted Driving

When you start to teach your fleet drivers about not driving distracted, it’s important you go over unintended visual distraction hazards. But, you want to ensure they are doing all they can to avoid intended distractions like texting, using the phone or eating and drinking in the vehicle. To avoid distracted driving, have them:

  • Eat and drink before they get on the road
  • Turn off their cell phone when they’re driving so it’s not tempting
  • Operate the GPS before they leave or have them pull over if they need to adjust it.

Not only is it critical your drivers avoid distracted driving, but you should ensure you have extra protection for your business by being adequately insured in case there are distraction-related accidents. And, having GPS fleet tracking can help you lower your insurance costs while monitoring driver behavior.

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