Before the advent of mobile technology, there were plenty of things to distract the driver. These included the radio, CD player, drinks, food, and personal grooming. Thanks to mobile technology and small computers in the form of tablets, there is no shortage of things to keep the driver’s attention away from his driving. In addition, the belief that people can multitask like computers has become widely accepted. The marriage of this belief with mobile technology use has had tragic consequences on our highways. Here are three common myths about multitasking and distracted driving that should be discarded before getting into your car.
People Can Multitask
People are very poor multitaskers. Humans can either do one task very well or split their attention among several tasks while doing each poorly. The only exception to this are tasks that do not require thinking. That is why people can talk and walk at the same time. When doing two thinking tasks, the brain switches attention between them rather than doing each simultaneously. The human brain is very poor at back and forth switching. Unlike walking, driving is a thinking task. This means one’s ability to drive while doing another thinking task such as speaking on a cell phone, is diminished.
Hands-Free Cell Phones Do Not Affect Your Driving
It’s not the act of holding a cell phone in your hands that distracts you, it’s the conversation. Having an intelligent or at least coherent conversation requires focus and thought. This means that your driving is reduced to unthinking autopilot reactions. Scanning the traffic situation, anticipating the actions of other drivers, and processing visual information requires a lot of brain power. Studies have shown that engaging the language center of the brain reduces the brain activity required for driving.
If I’m Not Using Mobile Devices, Then I’m Not Distracted
Mobile device use is just one of many forms of distracted driving. If an activity takes your focus away from driving, it’s distracting you. Even day dreaming is a distraction. In fact, being lost in thought is a major cause of driving accidents. Stirring sugar in a cup of coffee, cleaning up spilled food on your clothing, and combing your hair, all take your mind and eyes off the road.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident because of a distracted driver and need an accident attorney, Lewis & Keller can help you get the compensation you deserve. We represent accident victims in Greensboro and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Contact us today for a free consultation.