What Factors Affect Attention While Driving? Definition, Meaning and Concept
Some of the factors that can affect alertness while driving are cell phone use, radio adjustment, weather conditions, and other people in the vehicle. Gadgets like cell phones or navigation systems can take a driver's attention off the road, especially if distracted by visually demanding action like texting. Weather conditions can also have an adverse effect on a driver's attention, especially during heavy rain or snow, which can limit the driver's peripheral vision. Other distractions can also be a factor, such as passengers, eating, or other traffic.
The use of cell phones while operating a vehicle can divert an individual's attention while driving. The driver may need to handle the phone to answer it or make a call, and the conversation itself can be distracting, especially for important or stressful calls. For many drivers, this has led to the use of a hands-free unit to limit phone handling as much as possible. Text messaging can also distract the driver and can even inhibit proper steering when the driver uses the phone to type.
Other gadgets or electronics can also affect a driver's attention. Adjusting a radio can be a hassle, just like removing or inserting a CD or operating a portable music player. Navigation systems can be equally annoying if the driver is changing settings or focusing too much on the screen.
Rain and snow are generally considered factors that motivate the driver to focus more on the road, but these conditions can also negatively affect attention while driving. In heavy snow or rain, the driver may focus too much on what is right in front of the vehicle or may simply have limited peripheral vision. This can be even more of a concern at night.
Passengers in the vehicle may also demand attention while driving, especially children. Other drivers can also drive off the road, either by driving recklessly, honking their horn unnecessarily, or playing a stereo system too loud. Eating while driving is a relatively common practice, but it also has an effect on the driver's attention to the road.