At the beginning of the pandemic, many people assumed that the increase in work-from-home arrangements would limit car accidents. This theory makes sense: fewer people on the road means fewer crashes, right?
In reality, however, auto fatalities are on the rise. This could be prompted, in part, by the cognitive overload that accompanies both remote work and general life during a pandemic. Such concerns leave us unable to maintain our attention behind the wheel, thereby reducing our ability to respond effectively to hazards on today’s increasingly dangerous roads.
Overburdened By Work Demands
A variety of factors are likely contributing to our current struggles on the roads we once found easy to navigate. The always-on nature of remote work may make it difficult for us to switch gears and focus on driving, regardless of current traffic conditions. The constant stress of navigating a pandemic only exacerbates the problem.
Former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) head Joan Claybrook explains that we tend to operate on autopilot when we get behind the wheel. Excessive computer use can overload us and make it more difficult to function properly when these autopilot tendencies kick in.
The Impact of Videoconferencing
While a variety of work requirements make it difficult to operate vehicles safely, results from a Root Insurance study suggest that videoconferencing is the most problematic. Over half of respondents admit that they struggle to concentrate when driving after video chats. This problem is especially noteworthy among Gen Z drivers. Root insurance CEO Alex Timm explains that today’s drivers are accustomed to being distracted — and they carry this behavior with them on the road.auto accidents, distracted driving, DrivingSafety