Safe driving starts with your beliefs and attitudes. The safety features of your car can only do so much to protect you from serious injury in a car crash. The rest is up to you to avoid accidents by driving safely. The problem is that many people have distorted ideas about safe driving because of the misinformation out there, especially about distracted driving. Here are three distracted driving myths that stubbornly persist:

A Person Skilled at Multitasking Can Drive Safely

When the brain is split between two cognitive tasks, it does a poor job at both. As it alternates between different tasks, it requires additional time to recap the status of the task before it can proceed. If a traffic emergency occurs while your mind is focused on a non-driving task, you won’t respond in time.

People can’t even walk safely while using their mobile devices and have sometimes stepped in front of traffic. There are numerous YouTube videos showing people walking into walls and pools while supposedly multitasking. If people can’t multitask while walking, they certainly can’t do it while driving.

I’m Not Distracted as Long as My Eyes Are on the Road

If you are daydreaming, rehearsing a speech in your head, feeding your child baby food with one hand, searching for something in your glove compartment, or using a hands free cell phone, your mind is focused elsewhere rather than on the driving. The reason you can stay on the road is that you are relying on your muscle memory, driving reflexes, and basic pattern recognition. These all use non-cognitive parts of the brain. This means you are driving mindlessly, or in other words, in a distracted state of mind.

A Conversation with Someone in the Car Is the Same as a Cell Phone Conversation

While the driver is distracted when conversing with another in the car, the other person is also keeping his eyes on the road as well. This means there is a higher level of alertness overall. This isn’t the case with a cell phone conversation because the other person isn’t present in the car. Sometimes, as in the case of teenagers, there is no difference between the two situations. In both situations, the driver is equally distracted. This is why multiple teens in cars often result in accidents.

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