Distracted driving is one of the biggest problems that we face on the road today. When drivers take their focus away from the road, there are endless dangers with vehicles moving at such high speeds. Looking away for a few seconds can be the difference between a safe trip and adding to the 1000 + injuries caused by distracted driving every day in the US. Ultimately, many drivers like to summarize their distracted driving as multitasking. But, multitasking is distracting and hurts your ability to tasks.
Multitasking Causes Mental Overload
The brain is not meant to perform heavy-duty multitasking on a regular basis. Driving is a task that requires a lot of focus and attention as anything could happen on the road. You are overloading your brain with a lot of information when you try to text and drive. You might think you can multitask, but you’re just distracting yourself.
Texting requires your brain to process the incoming text, your response, and type it out, while also driving. It is important to understand how much work your brain is really putting in to do all these things.
Multitasking is Mental Juggling
When trying to multitask, you think you’re doing 2 things at once, but you’re really just switching focus between tasks constantly. Previous studies have shown that switching between 2 tasks noticeably slows down the time it takes to complete each task individually. As tasks get more complex and less familiar, you need more time to switch between and complete tasks.
A vehicle suddenly stopping in front of you is something unfamiliar and would require focus to react in time. But, if you also received a surprising text right before facing the sudden stop, how do you think your brain is going to juggle both shocks? The sad but common reality of this situation is that you would experience an accident. Ultimately, if you choose to drive distracted, it isn’t really an accident anymore, it was your poor choice.
Confidence Is Not Key
A 2013 University of Utah study found that people who claimed to be above average at multitasking performed poorly when using a cell phone while driving. The study concluded that those who do not frequently try to multitask are better at actually better at it because they can focus on one thing at a time very well.
Ultimately, if someone says they drive while on their phone all the time and are confident in their multitasking, don’t trust them. Having confidence in your ability to drive distracted just means you’re going to be unsafe more often.
For fleet managers who worry about unsafe drivers who might try to multitask, ZenduIT offers a perfect solution called ZenduCAM. There is a new feature that detects distracted drivers with a driver-facing camera. It can see if they are using their phones and this will allow for fleet managers to act based on this while keeping their fleets safe.
Overall, driving distracted and trying to multitask is never a great idea. It puts a lot of stress on your brain to constantly try to focus or switch attention to multiple things. This holds especially true for driving, where you are putting everyone else’s life at risk by losing focus.