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The distracted mind

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Everyone knows we’re not supposed to multitask while driving, but do you know why? Refraining from texting, changing the radio, or talking to other people in the car isn’t just cautionary advice from your parents and driver’s ed teachers. It turns out your brain literally can’t focus on too much at once. Let’s learn why.

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While distracted driving has become an important issue as more drivers are equipped with cell phones at an early age, inattention while driving is by no means a new problem. Check out this vintage film from the National Safety Council's 1953 campaign to help drivers learn about paying attention on the road.Distracted driving is also a growing field in academia. Visit industry leader VirginiaTech Transportation Institute’s site for up to date research and pretty shocking statistics about the state of distracted driving today.Interestingly, new research from the University of Michigan and Toyota shows that we start to form our driving habits well before we’re even taught to drive. The example our parents set can be one of the largest influences on how we safely maneuver distracted driving.Paying attention isn’t only important while you’re behind the wheel. In his TED Talk The Art of Misdirection, charming pickpocket Apollo Robbins demonstrates how he manipulates attention and focus to swipe a few keepsakes from an audience member—despite warning him to pay attention to his items moments earlier!In light of grim statistics, a heightened awareness on distracted driving has made way for more information, education programs, and enhanced technology to prevent accidents. Learn more about advancements in crash avoidance technology at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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