Multitasking Behind the Wheel: Hidden Risks

Multitasking Behind the Wheel: Hidden Risks

With the fast digital pace becoming normalized, multitasking has permeated every aspect of life. It can feel insufficient to do just one thing at a time. 

However, driving is a different matter, as it can rarely be done safely with less than full attention. Unfortunately, the rise of distracted driving, primarily due to smartphone use, is becoming a new,  and deadly norm.

What Counts as Multitasking? 

The ability to perform more than one task concurrently is called multitasking. It has never been a secret that many people are proud of their multitasking ability. 

Many scientists argue that people are, in fact, not multitasking but task-switching. They merely shift their attention between tasks instead of doing them at the same time. In most cases, it diminishes the overall ability to concentrate; that is why using it on the road can be dangerous.

Perils of Attention Deficit

Driving requires our full cognitive, physical, and visual attention. By sacrificing even one of these, a person puts him or herself in danger.

Physical Distractions

Anything you have to do with the car’s sound, volume, wheel adjustment, eating, or reaching for things takes your eyes off the road and hands off the wheel.

Cognitive Distractions

Phone calls, deep thoughts, or anything that takes the mind off the road, can significantly postpone reaction time to unpredicted events.

Visual Distractions

Texting, checking notifications, and using GPS could make the driver look away from the road. In several short seconds at optimal speed, the car can spread by several football fields. 

The numbers speak for themselves. According to the Louisville car accident lawyers at Meinhart & Manning PLLC, distracted driving is responsible for 17% of car accidents.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in the U.S., 3,308 died because of distracted driving in 2022

However, it is not about the numbers – families suffer irreparable damage, some suffer lifelong wounds, and those who are guilty pay the price for all their lives. 

Steps to Stay Safe While Driving 

The good news is that the danger is avoidable – if a person acts proactively to ensure he or she does not divide their attention. Follow these steps: 

  • Prepare for the drive beforehand – everything should be set up, the music should be selected, temperature conditions should be set, and so on.
  • Set your phone to Do Not Disturb mode, so it does not distract you with sounds or an extremely bright screen.
  • Plan to make stops on long drives, so you can stop to eat or reply to texts. 

It may seem over-the-top to maintain a constant focus while driving, as many people are glued to their phones. In fact, driving a car is one of the few activities requiring 100% focus. Every driver is responsible for safe driving and, therefore, has a duty not to engage in this way to avoid car accidents. By understanding the problem behind multitasking and ways to overcome it, people can reduce it, potentially saving their lives as well as the lives of others. By acknowledging the dangers of multitasking behind the wheel and adopting strategies to mitigate them, individuals can minimize distractions, thereby reducing the risk of accidents and safeguarding lives.