The Dangers of Multi-Tasking While Driving
Driving a car or truck is a common, everyday activity for most people. Adults who have spent a large amount of time behind the wheel may slip into “autopilot” and stop paying close attention to what is happening on the road around them. This problem is compounded if they attempt to do other tasks while driving, such as making a phone call, reading or sending a text message, looking up information on a smartphone, checking a navigational system, changing stations on the radio, adjusting climate controls, eating or drinking, or talking to passengers.
While people may believe that they can safely “multi-task” and divide their attention between driving and other activities, this can be incredibly dangerous. Any distractions can cause a driver to miss important signals that could help them avoid danger. Multi-tasking while driving is dangerous for the following reasons:
- Performing two activities that require thinking greatly increases a person’s reaction time. For example, if a person is talking on the phone while driving, a significant part of their brain is focused on the conversation rather than on the road. The time it takes for the brain to switch between talking and reacting to sensory input will result in an increased reaction time. Even a difference of a split second can cause a driver to be unable to react in time to avoid colliding with another vehicle or a pedestrian.
- Talking on a mobile phone reduces a driver’s field of perception. Studies have shown that when a person is speaking, even if they are using a hands-free device, their visual field is reduced by up to 50%. This could result in them not seeing pedestrians, traffic lights, or obstacles on the road.
- Even if a driver only uses a cell phone or other electronic device while they are stopped at a red light, this still can cause dangerous distractions. Studies have shown that when someone sends a text, this causes them to be distracted for up to 27 seconds after doing so. By this time, the light may have changed, and other vehicles or pedestrians around the vehicle may have begun moving. Mental distractions that occur while navigating an intersection can lead to serious injuries.
Contact a Des Plaines Car Accident Lawyer
Even though the dangers of talking on a phone or texting while driving are well-known, many people continue to risk the safety of those on the road around them. If you or a member of your family have been injured by a distracted driver, contact our Rolling Meadows personal injury attorney today by calling 847-934-6000 to schedule a free consultation.
About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.