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Common Distracted Driving Myths

It comes as no surprise that many serious motor vehicle accidents are the result of distracted driving.  Yet there continues to be many misconceptions about what pulls drivers’ attention from the roadway.  The National Safety Council says there are several myths about distracted driving that motorists need to be aware of.

Myth Number One:  Ability to multi-task

Many drivers believe that they are capable of effectively multitasking while behind the wheel, but this is simply not true.  The human brain is simply not designed to perform more than one challenging activity at the same time, especially when those activities require some amount of thinking.  When the brain is required to switch between two tasks frequently, it slows down reaction times, and if the person is driving a car, the result could very well be an accident.

Myth Number Two:  Talking on a cell isn’t distracting

Most motorists who use a cell phone while driving believe that there is no difference between this behavior and talking to another passenger in the car.  This is erroneous thinking.  Passengers can often assist a driver, pointing out when there are accident risks. That does not happen when you have a cell phone conversation with a person at the other end of the line who is not aware that you are driving while talking to him.

Myth Number Three:  Hands-free not a solution

Many motorists use hands-free sets to have conversations while driving, because they believe these sets do not constitute a distraction. That’s far from the truth. In fact, motorists using hands-free sets can miss seeing approximately half of their environment while driving. That increases their risk of being involved in an accident.

Myth Number Four:  Voice-to-text is still distracting

Most motorists use voice-to-text messaging services believing that these are not distracting. That, however, may not be true. When you are using these services, you are mentally distracted and that can increase your accident risks. Besides this, there are visual distractions involved, because you are frequently looking at your cell phone screen to correct autocorrect errors.

The safest way to use a cell phone while driving is to simply switch it off or pull off the roadway to have your conversation.  Another great resource for learning about distracted driving is EndDD.org.

 

 

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  • Mullen

    I remember learning in psychology in college that most people think they’re better than they really are. I think a study was done asking individuals if they thought they were an above average driver in terms of safety. Well more than 50% of respondents says yes. Based on these myths in this blog post, the results of the psychology study shouldn’t come as a surprise.

    What is a bit surprising, at least to me, is that laws intended to prevent distracted driving due to cell phone use aren’t very effective.