Texting has already been proven to compromise a driver’s manual, visual, and cognitive abilities. New research suggests that it also compromises a driver’s “sixth sense,” which is thought to assist drivers in responding to difficult driving scenarios.
Even when affected by some distracting activities or stressors, the brain always keeps a portion of one’s attention on the roadways while driving – the sixth sense. This automatic coping mechanism is rendered ineffective when drivers text.
For a new study, researchers reviewed the simulator driving test results of 59 participants. These participants familiarized themselves with the simulator, and then researchers asked the participants questions which were complex or which generated emotional distress. In a second simulation, the participants were told to send texts. In the last simulation, drivers were exposed to a mix of stressors.
By measuring lane departures and participant perspiration levels, detected by sensors, researchers found that stress detracted from the drivers’ steering accuracy in all simulations; these departures became dangerous only in the texting scenario. Even when drivers were subjected to mental and emotional duress, their eyes remained forward and they were able to steer relatively straight.
The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) of the brain is responsible for the fight or flight reflex which gives muscles the energy to steer and make corrections when facing distractions, both mental and emotional. Though for the ACC to function in this manner, it must be supported by eye-hand coordination; when eye-hand coordination fails, such as when texting, the ACC cannot help the driver take corrective measures.
While the study focused on texting and driving, researchers say all drivers should not drive if they are experiencing mental or emotional anguish.
If you have been injured by a texting driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our knowledgeable car crash lawyers can help you determine your legal options. A personal injury lawyer in Cincinnati from our law firm is ready to help you today.