Humans think that they can do anything. Multitasking is something that humans take pride in. Want to know something funny about that? Humans are horrible at multitasking. David L. Strayeris a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, UT. He studies how distracted driving affects people. He is an expert because he has been studying this topic for over two decades. Strayer has a lot to say about how humans cannot multitask and how dangerous both are when driving.
There are many studies out there that talk about how distracted driving affects people. A lot of those numbers go over our heads and we dismiss them. However, this statistic he cites in this article is not crazy. “National estimates suggest roughly 20,000 people die each year in distracted-driving cases.” To make it a little easier to understand, Strayer equates that number to the number in the University of Utah's undergraduate class. That puts it in a better perspective doesn't it?
What It Takes to Drive Safely
- Scanning – Scanning the road is an important task while driving. When distracted, you don't scan for possible dangers on the road.
- Predicting – When distracted, you will have difficulty anticipating if a pedestrian or another obstacle will get in your way.
- Decision Making – It is hard for drivers to decide sometimes so adding that distraction will make it difficult.
- Executing Responses – Braking is the most important functions in a car. Your reaction time diminishes when you use your cell phone.
How Does Multitasking Impair Us
Many simulations that Strayer's done show distracted driving is more dangerous than drunk driving. Distracted drivers were more likely to rear-end someone and it took longer to recover their speeds. According to the Utah Highway Safety Office, 5,748 crashes occurred resulting in 3,303 injuries and 27 deaths. Strayer's studies have also shown that texting and driving puts you at risk of crashing by six times.
We are dedicated to those that have been affected by distracted driving. There is an increasing amount of distracted driving crashes across the nation and especially so here in Utah. There are few things to do other than not be distracted ourselves. We can't force people to not use their phones but you have the choice not to use yours.
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