Multitasking and Driving: A Dangerous Combination

As Americans, we pride ourselves on being hardworking multitaskers. We shuffle family life, work, and fun, frequently all at the same time. There is one area where there is no room for multitasking: driving. The consequences of attempting to multi-task are dangerous and often deadly, according to a recent report on the Myth of Multitasking from the National Safety Council.

People are finally beginning to understand the dangers of texting and driving. Even though many people still text while driving, many states now make it illegal for this activity to take place when a vehicle is in motion or in operation. However, people are still not clear on the dangers of talking while driving, even with a hands-free phone. A survey from 2012 found that more than 2 out of 3 drivers have engaged in driving and cell phone talking. One out of three of those reported doing this on a fairly regular basis. Those drivers talking and driving are 4 times more likely to crash their cars. In fact, drivers distracted on cell phone calls account for 21 percent of all automotive crashes in the U.S.

This occurs because the human brain cannot multitask; at least not when it comes to thinking tasks. In the case of walking and chewing gum, for instance, the brain is not engaged in two thinking tasks at once but rather a thinking and non-thinking tasks. So, how do we manage conversations in the car when we have passengers but have such a hard time with cell phone conversations. Well, according to a Utah study, adult passengers in the vehicle can be helpful to a driver in alerting of changing traffic conditions while a person on the phone is not aware of changing or dangerous driving conditions and put the driver who is talking on the cell phone at greater risk for an accident. In fact, the distraction of a driver on the phone can make them oblivious to up to 50% of changes in their driving environment, called “inattention blindness”.

Regardless of why a driver is distracted, whether due to cell phone talking or texting, the effects can be devastating. Distracted drivers cause nearly a quarter of all accidents in the U.S., and leave families with large medical bills, disabilities, and even fatalities. If you or someone you love have been the victims of a distracted driver, we can help advise your family on how to protect the rights of your loved ones. The experienced attorneys at the Solberg Stewart Miller law firm in Fargo, ND are experts in litigation regarding personal injury and automobile accident cases.

Source: http://www.nsc.org/safety_road/Distracted_Driving/Pages/The-Great-Multitasking-Lie.aspx

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