The Stuff We Do While Driving
Attention drivers. You’re more distracted than you think!
Don’t get me wrong. Texting while driving is a very serious problem. Distracted driving is the leading cause of traffic fatalities in the United States and action does indeed need to be taken to cure the epidemic.
However, to keep things in perspective, distracted driving has existed and has been an epidemic for as long as there have been automobiles to drive, places to drive them to, and specific times in which to reach those places. Although, we didn’t always call it distracted driving. We had a nicer, more professional sounding name for it.
Oh, we all see it, and we probably all do it every day. Although cell phones and texting get bad press, we all do things while driving that distract us from the task at hand.
Knitting Can Wait!
Eating while driving remains one of the top offenders, especially with the saturation of fast-food and drive-in restaurants on America’s roadside. Women are often found applying makeup or hairspray while weaving in and out of the fast lane, but don’t think that men are off the hook, as they’re often found using electric razors while barreling at 80 MPH to work. And even before the proliferation of the smartphone, many a distracted driver could be caught reading their mail, absorbing a paperback, or balancing their checkbook.
Some of the more bizarre distractions have included (but are not limited to) changing diapers, knitting and even playing musical instruments. All of which, mind you, are activities that, unlike smartphone usage, requires the use of both hands.
However, extra activities don’t have to be so drastic to be distracting. Take loud radios and robust conversations with friends, for instance. Every second spent fiddling with the radio or giving your rebuttal is a second not spent paying full attention to the road and the car. Even dashboard computers meant to keep our communications hands-free can be distracting for the technophile.
As you can see, we have been distracted at the wheel for nearly a century now. Smartphones and texting have simply made it easier.
Knowing One’s Limitations
Ever known people that professed to be “good at multitasking” or were convinced of friends that were “multitasking queens”?
Yeah. Come to find out, there’s no such thing. Granted, there are people whose brains are hardwired to handle multiple streams of thought at once, but they make up a very tiny percentage of earth’s population, and odds are, you’re not one of them. Neither is your friend.
According to scientific research, the brain just isn’t designed for multitasking. When doing multiple things at once, we THINK we’re multitasking, but we’re really temporarily shutting off one part of the brain to concentrate on another and spreading our mental faculties thin. In fact, though we think we’re saving time and getting more done, we’re actually wasting time and doing less.
Let that sink in a minute.
We’re also causing more stress on both our brains and bodies when we attempt to do more at once. This causes a breakdown of memory and brain function, the same thing that happens when we deprive ourselves of sleep.
Part of the problem stems from our fast-paced culture. We live in a world where information flows non-stop, progress has no brakes and we have more work to perform, but with the same 24-hours in which to do it. Thus, we try to cram as much as possible into every minute of our lives, even if that means being a jack-of-all-trades but a master of none.
Ironically, though, our habit of multitasking may be slowly killing the very creativity that brought us progress in the first place by not allowing us to focus on one thing at a time.
When all is said and done, don’t try to multitask while driving. Humans aren’t built for it, it stifles true productivity and creative thought and it drives your insurance rates up.
Laws are being enacted around the country to combat texting and driving. While that’s great and all, there are things that we still do every day that are just as bad as texting and driving, and it’s sort of sad we have to actually tell people that doing two things at once while steering a car hurtling at 65 MPG is dangerous.
First Baldwin Insurance