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Does multitasking make distracted driving OK?

On Behalf of | Aug 24, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

If it feels like it is hard to focus on just one task at a time, you are not alone. However, there is at least one task to which you should always give your undivided attention — driving. Drivers in Louisiana are not always willing to put aside other things to really focus on the road, though. This makes distracted driving a serious problem for everyone.

Even though distracted driving might be relatively common, this does not mean that it is safe. Distracted driving can cause serious accidents and even kill people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the CDC — even reports that distracted drivers kill an average of eight people every day.

The types of distracted driving

Distracted driving is anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the task at hand. There are actually three distinct categories of distracted driving into which different behaviors fall. The three categories are:

  • Visual — anything that takes your eyes off the road
  • Manual — anything that takes your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive — anything that takes your mind off of driving

Looking at passengers or a nearby accident are two examples of visual distractions. Something like reaching for an object is usually a manual distraction since it takes your hands off the wheel, but if you turn to look at the item you are reaching for it could be a visual distraction as well. Something like texting often fits into all three categories and is a visual, manual and cognitive distraction.

What about multitasking?

Some people swear by multitasking to get things done. A lot of drivers believe they can safely multitask behind the wheel, too. The reality is that no one is really focusing on two tasks at once, as multitasking in that sense does not actually exist.

The human brain cannot perform two different tasks at the same time. Instead, it switches focus back and forth between two tasks, juggling them rapidly. This gives people a false sense of doing two things at once when they are actually just switching back and forth. Even when done quickly, this does not allow for true focus on either task.

Put your phone away

All drivers should develop safe driving habits. This includes doing a few things as soon as you get in your vehicle, like putting your seatbelt on. You should also put your phone in a place that is out of your line of sight and reach. You may also want to consider putting the volume setting on silent.

You are already all too familiar with just how devastating the aftermath of a distracted driving accident can be. Whether you are struggling with your physical injuries, medical bills, lost wages or all three, you need help. Since there is no excuse for distracted driving, you may want to explore your options for holding the distracted driver who caused your accident responsible for his or her actions.