The Truth About Driving and Cell Phones
In the last decade, thousands of accidents have been caused by distracted drivers. Chances are you have used your cell phone for a call or to text while driving. Read on to find out exactly how much a cell phone can impair your reflexes while driving.
Can Our Brains Multitask?
According to David Strayer, a researcher at the University of Utah, the answer is no. As much as we think we are able to multitask, our brains actually can’t do it in the way we think they can. According to Strayer, a driver on a cell phone has four times the chance of causing an accident, which is the exact same rate a drunk driver has. While texting, that crash risk can increase to as much as eight times.
What You Don’t See
Strayer says while most drivers believe they’re able to multitask while driving, it is actually impossible to do. While using a cell phone, a driver loses their periphery vision so pedestrians, other cars or anything happening on the sidelines will not be seen by the driver, no matter what they think. Strayer also says that distracted drivers “suffer from inattention blindness.” This means that up to half of what’s going on on the road in front of you may not be seen. Inattentive driving is even worse than drunk driving.
According to the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), 8 out of every 10 collisions in the country are caused by distracted drivers. CAA also reminds us that while being distracted for a second or two may seem harmless enough, if driving at a speed of 50km/h, you will travel 14m in one second. A lot can happen in that time.
How to Stay Alert
While driving, you need to give your undivided attention to the road and traffic around you. Turn off your cell phone before you drive off so you won’t be tempted to respond to any calls or messages. Keep your eyes on the road to ensure the safety of your passengers, yourself and those who share the road with you.