The Myth of Multi-Tasking
Multi-tasking is thought of as a useful skill. As a matter of fact, the kitchen is a perfect example of multi-tasking. Preparing a meal and having each component ready at the same time definitely takes multi-tasking! However, it gets a lot of people in trouble behind the wheel. Most of us incorrectly assure ourselves that we can multi-task and use our cellphone while we drive. After all, we can walk and chew gum at the same time, right? When we stop and think about those activities — chewing gum and walking — we must admit that walking is one of those things we do that requires very little brain power. In fact, it’s subconscious and nearly automatic.
Unlike walking and chewing gum, both driving and using a cell phone requires higher cognitive thinking. Your brain simply cannot perform two higher cognitive tasks at the same time. Instead, it must switch between tasks. With technology at our fingertips, drivers are constantly faced with distractions, such as talking or texting, which places their safety and that of others at serious risk.
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In Texas, it is estimated that 1 in 5 traffic crashes are caused by distracted driving, and the problem is getting worse. As part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is launching its “Talk, Text, Crash” campaign to remind drivers to stay focused on the road.
Last year, there were 108,962 distracted driving crashes in Texas — up 3 percent since 2015. Those crashes killed 452 people and seriously injured another 3,068. These crashes are highest among younger drivers ages 16 to 34.
According to TxDOT, 38 percent of Texas drivers say they regularly or sometimes use a cell phone while driving. Text messaging is particularly dangerous, as reaction times double when drivers read or send text messages. A driver texting at 55 mph will lose sight of the road for nearly five seconds, which is comparable to driving the length of a football field while blindfolded. During this time, the car can drift in and out of lanes as well as cross the center line.
Although cell phone use is not the only distraction in the car, it is one of the most common and is a leading cause of distracted driving traffic crashes and fatalities. Text messaging is particularly dangerous. Research conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) found that reaction times double when drivers are distracted by text messaging. Driving requires the use of our visual, manual, and cognitive abilities — texting takes away all three of these at one time.
National Distracted Driving Awareness Month is a time to raise awareness of the dangers associated with distracted driving and to encourage Texans to put down their cell phones while driving, not just during the month of April, but year-round. With more than 100,000 traffic crashes in Texas each year involving distracted driving, drivers are reminded that using a mobile phone when behind the wheel is a risky habit that they should break.
Although cell phone use is the most easily recognized distraction, all in-vehicle distractions are unsafe and can cause crashes or fatalities. Keep your eyes on the road and arrive alive!
Distracted Driving Virtual Reality Event
Our regional Traffic Safety Coalition, on which I serve, is partnering with TxDOT to bring a virtual reality distracted driving experience called “It Can Wait” to our area. Sulphur Springs is one of approximately 19 cities across the state of Texas to host this event. Here are the details:
- When: Thursday, April 19
- Where: Hopkins County Civic Center exhibit hall
- Time: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
The VR experience is a structure that visitors will be able to explore and interact with while waiting in line. Inside the cube is the VR video. The viewer should walk away convinced that they’re not immune from causing harm to others or themselves if they drive distracted. Additionally, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will provide a DWI prevention simulator. Users will experience driving while their vision is distorted through impaired driving goggles.
What’s Missing from your Pantry?
Due to a special request from a local resident, I will be presenting two programs on nutrition, meal planning, and inspiration to be healthy. Please take note and the dates and times and call 903-885-3443 if you would like to attend. You may attend both, or choose one. Both programs will be at the same location and same time, just different days.
What: What’s Missing from your Pantry; Nutrition for the 60+ Crowd
When: Wednesday, April 25, Thursday, April 26
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Where: First United Methodist Church Family Life Center classroom
Both programs are free. More information to come!
Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another – Napoleon Hill