Driven to Distraction
Next time you come to a stop at a red light, look at the drivers around you. What are they doing? Are their eyes darting from the light to their lap? Are they putting on make-up, eating, or talking on the phone? Chances are that they, and maybe even you, are driving distracted.
Distracted driving is any activity that takes a driver’s awareness off of the primary task of operating a vehicle. Inattentive driving caused over 400,000 injuries in the US last year. The public needs know about the dangers of the driving “Multi-Tasker.”
You Can’t Multi Task
Multi-tasking is a myth. You may think that you can watch a movie, while listening to iTunes, while writing an email, and simultaneously follow the plot, hear the lyrics, and control your run-on sentences, but you can’t. Focusing on more than two things at a time doesn’t just slow you down and increase the number of mistakes you make; it temporarily changes the way your brain works. When you need to focus on performing a task, your frontal cortex springs to action. If you’re asked to perform any more tasks, the brain segments with each added activity. The more you try to do at one time, the higher your chance of failing. And driving a one ton vehicle is a task you don’t want to fail.
What are we doing?
What aren’t we doing? The top reported driving distractions are…
- Using a phone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Using a GPS
- Watching a video
- Reading, including maps
- Adjusting the stereo
Distracted driving is a public safety hazard. Each day in the US, nine lives are lost and 1,153 are injured in distracted driving incidents. In 2009 the President issued an executive order prohibiting federal employees from texting while driving on government business or with government equipment. www.Distraction.gov is a federally funded website dedicated to informing and eradicating distracted driving from our streets. This is not a passing phase – it is an alarming trend that must be eliminated through education and awareness. Talk to the drivers in your life about focusing on the road, and doing their part to curb distracted driving.
If you have further questions about distracted driving, or if you’ve been in an auto accident involving a distracted driver – We’re HERE to help!
Take the #TimeToRideSafe pledge!