blog home Car Accidents Does Optimism Bias Lead to Distracted Driving?

Does Optimism Bias Lead to Distracted Driving?

By Butler Prather LLP on August 23, 2021

When most people think of distracted driving, I think of drivers looking at their phones, eating or drinking, applying makeup, or something similar. However, one thing that is not often discussed is optimism bias and how this affects our driving behavior. Optimism bias refers to the way that people see the world – a person always assuming the best about the future and possible outcomes.

On the surface, it sounds like optimism bias is something that is a good thing. It can be because this can help individuals find hope even when things look disastrous. However, there is a downside to optimism bias, one that could lead to distracted driving behaviors.

How Can Optimism Bias Lead to Distracted Driving?

Data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that around eight people are killed each day as a result of distracted driving behaviors on the roadway. Additionally, distracted driving is one of the leading causes of vehicle accidents in the country. Drivers can face a myriad of distractions behind the wheel, including texting and driving, talking on the phone, applying makeup, eating or drinking, interacting with passengers, and more.

But what does optimism bias have to do with distracted driving?

Those with optimism bias are likely to understand the dangers of distracted driving, but they assume that these accidents will not happen to them. They know that there will be people who die and get injured as a result of distracted driving each day, but they assume that they will not be the ones involved in these incidents.

When a person with optimism bias picks up a phone to check their social media notification, they think that they can check their phone safely and that they will not get into an accident. Those with optimism bias think that everything will always work out for the best.

Yes, this is certainly optimistic.

In a way, those who operate vehicles with a strong optimism bias display a form of arrogance. Even if they may not consciously think that they are better than other drivers, that is the reality of the situation. They think that they will not be a statistic. They think that their actions will not make others around them part of the statistics.

Optimism bias can show up in other ways when it comes to driving, aside from distracted driving actions. Many drivers overestimate their own driving abilities, which can lead to them operating their vehicles faster than they should, driving with only one hand on the wheel, driving with a foot on the dash, or a range of other dangerous driving behaviors.

Working With an Attorney After an Accident

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver in Georgia, you need to work with a skilled attorney as soon as possible. Even though you may never know whether or not your accident was caused by a driver with optimism bias, an attorney can help show that an accident was caused by distracted driving actions. An Atlanta car accident attorney will be your advocate. They will use their resources to fully investigate your case, determine liability, and negotiate with aggressive insurance carriers to ensure that you recover the compensation you need.

Posted in: Car Accidents

I was in a complex premises liability case involving a multinational corporations. Mr. Butler & his associates were always three steps ahead of these defendants. When they say they are "exceptional trial lawyers," this is not just a slogan but it is a way of life.”
- Zack Hendon