Are You a Distracted Driver? If So, Stop It
Humans cannot simultaneously do multiple things at once, aka multitask. Yes, we can shift gears from one thing to another, turning our focus from one task to another quite rapidly, an ability which is often mistaken as multitasking. However, actually doing two or more things at once with any rate of success—nope, not happening.
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So, why is it that humans think they can do more than just drive a car when driving a car? Eating, talking on the phone—even if it’s hands-free–attending to children in the backseat, messing with the sound system or applying makeup are just a few tasks drivers feel compelled and empowered to do while navigating traffic at high speeds.
According to Life360 Inc., the creators behind the location and communication app and messaging tool Life360 that helps families manage their chaotic schedules, 64% of all vehicular accidents are caused by cell phone use and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 660,000 drivers use cell phones while driving during the day. Texting while driving takes the lives of 11 teenagers each day, reports Life360.
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According to the NHTSA, in the time it takes to read or send a text—approximately five seconds—a car can cover a distance of a football field if it’s clocking 55 miles per hour. In 2015, 3,477 people lost their lives due to distracted driving, reports the NHTSA.
Since April has been designated as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month by the National Safety Council, it’s the perfect time to re-focus on the task at hand—driving.
According to the NHTSA, distracted driving is defined as “any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.”
Reminding ourselves and others about distracted driving habits is crucial to preventing and ending distracted driving, according to the NHTSA. The agency encourages parents to be a role model for their children to never engage in distracting habits while driving and to educate their teen driver about the dangers and responsibilities of driving. Teens should also be willing to influence their friends and speak up when someone is distracted behind the wheel and to share reminders to not drive distracted on social media, according to the NHTSA. The NHTSA also encourages people to support laws against distracted driving and to be a voice for this cause.