Wondering if multitasking really keeps you from driving well? Some experts have said that it’s nearly as bad as drunk driving, due to the cognitive demands on the brain when doing two things at once. It slows down reaction times and causes avoidable mistakes.
However, this isn’t exclusive to driving. It’s true with any complex task.
To test it, researchers brought in a professional piano player. They gave him a magazine to read and asked him to play a piece of music while he read.
The man made plenty of little mistakes. Interestingly, the errors were usually in what he was reading. Researchers said that he was typically able to recover from the errors quickly, and they equated it to watching a distracted driver slowly drift toward the center line, then go slightly over it and into oncoming traffic, and then correct the car’s trajectory. Many drivers do this without incident, though it could easily lead to a deadly accident.
Now, remember that this man was a professional piano player who practiced constantly and was better at playing the piano than most people are at driving. He had also memorized the music, so he didn’t have to think about it. If even he made mistakes, it’s clear that drivers who are reading text messages would make even more. They have less experience and they have to think more about traffic signals and changing conditions around them.
Have you been hit by a distracted driver? If so, you must know all of the legal rights that you have to compensation when facing rising medical costs, lost wages and more.
Source: NPR, “Multitasking In The Car: Just Like Drunken Driving,” Jon Hamilton, accessed Dec. 01, 2017