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Myths About Multitasking May Contribute to Distracted Driving Problem

Cranwell & Moore P.L.C. Feb. 14, 2023

There are many myths about multitasking that exist, resulting in drivers dangerously doing two things at once behind the wheel.

When drivers in Virginia get behind the wheel of a vehicle, many think that they can text, talk on their cellphone, eat or use their navigation device safely. According to a recent survey conducted by AT&T, more than a quarter of the participants who admitted that they texted and drove also said that they were able to easily multitask behind the wheel. Although doing two things at once while driving is extremely dangerous, many drivers may believe that they can multitask because of several myths that surround this issue.

The Brain Was Designed to Multitask

According to the National Safety Council, the brain is unable to properly process two cognitive activities at the same time. For example, driving and talking on a cellphone are two separate thinking tasks. When a driver talks on his or her cellphone and operates a vehicle, his or her brain will switch rapidly between both of these activities instead of processing them simultaneously.

Talking on A Cellphone Is the Same as Talking to A Passenger

Many drivers may continue to talk on their cellphone behind the wheel because they think that it is no different than talking to a passenger. However, according to a study released by the University of Utah in 2008, drivers who talk on a cellphone are not as aware of what’s going on around them when compared with undistracted drivers. This is because they are the only ones who are able to see the road and the situations surrounding them. Comparatively, when drivers talk to another person with them in the vehicle, there are two people in the car who can recognize potentially hazardous driving situations.

Distracted Driving and Drunk Driving Are Not Similar

Some believe that distracted drivers still have faster reaction times than drunk drivers. However, in another study by the University of Utah, researchers discovered that drivers with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 have better reaction times in various driving situations than those who use a cellphone and operate a vehicle.

Hands-Free Devices Eliminate Distraction

Regardless of whether a driver uses a handheld or hands-free device, the level of distraction in the brain remains constant. Additionally, when a driver talks on a handheld or hands-free device, he or she can miss up to 50 percent of what is going on around him or her.

Since many drivers in Virginia continue to believe that it is relatively safe to multitask behind the wheel, thousands of passengers, pedestrians and drivers are killed or injured in distracted driving accidents daily. If you were involved in an accident caused by distraction, reach out to an attorney to determine what you can do to protect your best interests.

Keywords: distracted, driving, accident, injury