According to CDOT, distracted driving behaviors in Colorado was responsible for as many as 40 crashes every day in 2016. While texting is certainly one of the primary distractions drivers face, there are many other distractions as well. Drivers tend to believe they can continue multi-tasking while behind the wheel. In fact, the entire multi-tasking issue is more a myth than an accomplishment, as many people seem to think. While we mostly all believe that multi-tasking can allow us to get more done in a shorter time span, one cognitive scientist at the University of Michigan disputes that belief. Scientist David Meyer claims that when you perform multiple tasks—which each require some of the same processing “channels,”—you will end up having to pick and choose which task to focus on, devoting an entire channel to processing.
In fact, contrary to common belief, it is simply not possible to accomplish two cognitively complex tasks at the same time. So, while you may be compiling an e-mail while you are talking on the phone—and congratulating yourself on your multi-tasking skills—in fact, your brain is switching back and forth between the two tasks, and neither task is getting the attention it deserves. According to Meyer, even the most “adept multitasker” will end up crashing and burning when attempting to resolve simultaneous conflicting demands. If you happen to be driving while multi-tasking, you could easily put yourself and others in a truly hazardous situation. When you are driving, you must use the “language channel” to read signs and plan your next move. If you are having a cell phone conversation while driving, then either your conversation will suffer, or your driving ability will suffer.
Colorado Distracted Drivers
The state of Colorado saw a surge in roadway fatalities in 2016 (605), calling distracted driving an “epidemic.” CDOT spokesman Sam Cole asserts that drivers truly don’t understand the real dangers associated with taking their eyes off the road, for even a couple of seconds. Cole reminds drivers that when they are whizzing down the road at 70 mph, taking their eyes from the road to read a text is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field without looking where you are going.
Common Driving Distractions
Driver distractions include eating, adjusting the radio or GPS, talking to passengers, turning around to check on the children in the back seat, talking on a cell phone, and, of course, texting. Nationwide, the CDC says that distracted driving kills more than eight people and injures as many as 1,161 each day in the United States. Most people who study the distracted driving phenomenon believe crashes related to distracted driving are significantly under-reported, since few drivers want to admit they were engaged in a distraction while driving.
Tips on Reducing Distracted Driving Behaviors
There are ways drivers can reduce their distracted driving behaviors, including:
- Place your cell phone in the back seat or in your glove compartment, and turn it off—if you can’t see or hear your cell phone, it becomes a non-issue as far as distractions;
- Put a voicemail message on your phone that says you are driving and will call back when you are not driving;
- Discourage others from attempting to contact you while you are driving;
- Download one of the new phone apps which refuses calls and texts while you are behind the wheel;
- If you must use your cell phone, pull over and park before doing so;
- Don’t use your car as a kitchen—those who eat in their car also spill food and drinks in their car, which can be a huge driving distraction;
- Find your radio station and set your GPS before you pull out of your driveway, and
- Make sure children understand that your attention must remain on the road when you are driving, that they must all be safely buckled in and that you cannot turn around to find a toy or pick up a dropped drink while you are driving.
Contact Our Colorado Springs Car Accident Attorneys
When a distracted driver injures you or someone you love, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries and for any pain and suffering they have caused. At the Rector Law Firm, our Colorado Springs car accident attorneys have the experience and the resources to build a case that is designed to obtain maximum compensation for our clients. Call us today at 719-578-1106 for a free initial consultation and review of your case.