What is the smallest slot machine in the world? Not intended to be a trick question, but the answer is a smartphone.
At the third annual Distracted Driving Summit hosted by DRIVE SMART Virginia on Sept. 16-18, author Matt Richtel gave us a look at the psychology behind why people insist on using their phones behind the wheel. According to him, it has to do with the slot machine effect or intermittent reward. Every time we get a buzz, chime, ding, or beep, we’re dying to know what it’s about. Just like when we pull the lever on a slot machine, when we get a notification, we’re hard-wired to take a look. A coupon for $10 off a wicker porch rocker might be a major letdown, but if it’s a text from the person you met last night, the excitement suddenly builds. It becomes irresistible to look at our phones whenever they vibrate or chime.
This mini psychology lesson gets at the roots of why so many people drive distracted with phones. According to NHTSA, roughly 660,000 people are using a phone while driving at any given point. In 2012, one of the latest years of available data, approximately 424,000 people were injured in a crash related to distracted driving.
If we all take a moment to focus on how much we use our phones, and make a conscious effort to leave them alone while driving, we can help reduce distracted driving. But, if the urge still proves too strong, then put the phone on silent or tuck it away in the trunk out of reach.
In addition to putting your phone away, consider taking a defensive driving course to develop more good habits behind the wheel. Not only will you become a better driver, but also you can receive a discount on your auto insurance.
Check out the winning entry of the #BrakeTheHabit video contest!
Continue reading … Emerging Technology To Prevent Distracted Driving
By Mike Young