When you are in the car, there’s a good chance you are doing at least some multitasking. Most drivers listen to the radio, while some listen to audio books and others talk to passengers. Others will use their cell phones or even text or read emails. All of these different behaviors can take your focus off of what the car in front of you is doing, what the cars around you are doing, and what the road conditions are like.
Texting accident attorneys in Orange County, CA know that driving while distracted is dangerous since you tend to be less responsive to hazards and have a slower reaction time when your mind is focused on something besides the road. However, different behaviors that you do behind the wheel are going to have varying levels of impact on whether you can drive safely.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently evaluated some of the things that most drivers do while they drive in order to determine just how distracting these behaviors were. The results of the study were published by MSN Money and drivers should take a look at the information so they can be aware of the level of risk they take on when they choose to multitask as they drive.
How Distracted Are You When You Drive?
To determine how distracted you are when you drive your vehicle and do other things at the same time, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety observed some motorists doing distracting tasks. The motorists were asked to do each task under three different conditions: when they were not driving; when they were driving on a simulated driving course; and when they were driving in the real-world on the roads.
As the motorists did these tasks, their behavior was observed. Brain scans were taken, head and eye movement monitored, braking distance measured and following distance measured. The study outcome revealed just how much of an impact different behaviors had. According to the data:
- Driving while listening to the radio was just mildly distracting. The test conditions required the driver to turn to a station prior to driving and to listen to the music at a reasonable volume level.
- Driving while listening to an audio book was also mildly distracting. The test conditions ensured that the driver was paying attention to the story by giving him or her a simple quiz on the book. The results of the distraction test showed that listening to a book was a little more distracting than listening to the radio, but still wasn’t very dangerous.
- Driving while talking to a passenger was moderately distracting. The test conditions required that the driver keep his hands on the wheel and keep his eyes focused ahead, rather than looking at the passenger. The purpose was to test only the impact of conversing, rather than of looking away or moving the hands from the wheel to make hand gestures.
- Driving while on a cell phone was found to be moderately distracting. The test studied both driving while talking on a hands-free phone and driving while talking on a hand-held phone. Both behaviors were about the same level of distracting, despite the fact that some argue that hands-free phones are safer.
- Driving while using a text-to-email or text-to-speech program was extremely risky. Drivers who did this experienced “inattention blindness, which” significantly increases the chances of an accident.
This data shows that drivers who want to be as safe as possible should stick to listening to the radio or a book in the car if they want to multitask.