What is Distracted Driving and Why is it Dangerous?
Distracted driving is a problem that can be seen in all types of people; teens, men, women, elder drivers, truck drivers; no class of driver is immune from driving while distracted.
What is “distracted driving”? I think we can all agree that it should be treated as any activity could divert the attention of the driver of a vehicle away from the primary task of operating that motor vehicle. Those activities probably are numerous, but they certainly include:
- Texting or e-mailing
- Using a cell phone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
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And any other similar activity. All of these activities fall into three general types of distractions: manual, visual and cognitive or any combination of them. You reach for the dial to change a radio station, you look at the dial, and you think about which radio station you want to tune – manual, visual and cognitive in just one act.
Many of us believe that we have the ability to “multi-task” effectively. Science proves otherwise and it seems pretty clear that our human brains simply can not do more than one thing at a time. Science tells us that our brains must process each function we ask of it by going through the following for each task:
- Selection: the brain decides what information to focus on
- Process: the brain begins to process through the visual, auditory and sensual data it is receiving
- Encoding: the brain begins creating memory. The brain creates memory by screening out distractions and prioritizing attention. During this phase, the brain is particularly affected by distractions and diversion of attention.
- Storage: the brain begins storing information in short term memory. Not everything is stored in memory. The brain makes decisions during the encoding process what things are to be stored.
- Retrieval: the brain must access stored information
- Execute: the brain chooses and implements the course of action
For more in-depth information about the dangers of distracted driving, check out these sections of our website:
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Just do not try to contact us while you are driving!