Distracted Driving: Multi-Tasking Is a Myth

When you’re driving, there’s an old saying that tells you to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.

This is easier said than done.

In our fast-paced world, motorists are distracted by a wide variety of activities that take their attention away from their primary task, which should be driving. These common distractions include:

  • Daydreaming
  • Texting, emailing, or surfing the net on a smartphone
  • Talking on the phone, even by using a hands-free device
  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Fatigue
  • Talking to passengers
  • Putting on makeup
  • Reading a map or using GPS
  • Rubbernecking (checking out something happening in the oncoming lane or on the side of the road)
  • Adjusting a radio, CD or MP3 player
  • Watching a video

According to an April 2012 report by the National Safety Council, the human brain cannot perform two tasks at the same time, and instead handles each task successively by switching from one to the other. Because the human brain is capable of rapidly juggling tasks, people are led to believe that they are doing more than one thing at the same time (multi-tasking). The reality is that we only do one thing at a time, and do not have complete control over which information the brain processes and which it filters out.

Distracted Driving Puts Everyone at Risk

The mental distraction that occurs when engaging in any activity other than driving takes a driver’s mind off the road, and puts the driver and others at risk. One alarming statistic from Distraction.gov: At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010.

Driving is an activity that requires complete attention. Do not put yourself or others at risk by trying to accomplish other tasks when your priority should be reaching your destination safely.