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Who’s at the Wheel? Technology Causing Distracted Driving and Other Stories of Multi-Tasking

Who’s at the Wheel? Technology Causing Distracted Driving and Other Stories of Multi-Tasking

    When drivers are on the road, they often seem to forget that they are not in their living room, kitchen, or bedroom. As the average car weight is in the two-ton range (up to 4,000 lbs) and with the casual attention some drivers give to their driving, it is no surprise that accidents occur on the highways.

    Despite the devotion to multitasking, recent reports claim that humans function better if they don’t multi-task. That is proven often with some of the things that happen when people get behind the wheel of a car.

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    Paying Attention to the Rules of the Road

    Most states have rules against driving distracted, not to mention driving drunk.

    In the Texas Driver’s Handbook, a distraction is defined as “anything that takes the driver’s attention from the driving task.” Distractions are more common than people think. And focusing on more than one thing — multitasking — actually has a negative effect on a person’s performance.

    One Thing at a Time

    Although driving for experienced drivers can be called “unconscious competent,” considering their mastery as having some measure of control, drivers took longer to reach their destinations if they used cell phones.

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    Since our brains really handle multitasking by “task switching,” says author Guy Winch in his book, we really only have a finite amount of attention we can devote to a task and be productive.[1]

    The Appeal of Multitasking With Apps

    People describe multitaskers with a sense of awe at all they accomplish. The converse is that doing only one thing at a time is almost seen as though someone is a slacker. Why can’t you compile your household shopping list while you help your child with their homework? Talking with someone while you text is seen as normal. So, driving and doing something else is seen as a commonplace multitasking action.

    Trouble Behind the Wheel

    Statistics bear out the idea that young drivers cause much of the damage. Drivers in their 20s are 24 percent of drivers in all fatal crashes, but are 27 percent of the distracted drivers, and 33 percent of the distracted drivers that were using cell phones in fatal crashes.[2]

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    Just such a crash involved a 22-year-old male who was using his Apple iPhone to FaceTime while driving.[3] He lost control of his car, killing a five-year-old and injuring her father.

      Because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far one of the most alarming distractions.[4] In a survey noted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Ad Council’s joint text alert trouble website, the 2015 survey “found that one-third of drivers admitted to texting while driving, and three-quarters saying they’ve seen others do it.”

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      A Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) survey claims that sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent of driving blind at 55-mph for the length of an entire football field.[5] That is long enough to do damage on a road and potentially put other drivers and yourself at risk for danger.

      Staying Tech-Free and Distraction-Free

      Texting, talking, and otherwise multitasking on cell phones is rampant while driving. Some apps have added in standard safety features that disable features while the user is traveling over a certain speed limit in order to try to alleviate the dangers. However, the best way to stay safe while driving is simply to put the phone away and pull over if you need to send a text or answer a call.

      Taking your eyes off the road, even for a second, can result in an accident. Playing the odds on when someone does take their eyes off the road is a gamble. All too often people take the gamble. Sometimes they lose and when they do, they often lose a life too.

      The many accidents that occur in rush hour traffic show that, despite most drivers knowing the route they take to work every day, they choose to engage in distracted driving that causes those accidents. Illogical? Yes, Mr. Spock would agree.

      Featured photo credit: shutterstock via shutterstock.com

      Reference

      [1] Health: 12 Reasons to Stop Multitasking Now!
      [2] Stop Texts Stop Wrecks: Driving Facts
      [3] Thomas J Henry Law: Lawsuit Filed Against Apple In Fatal FaceTime Crash
      [4] Stop Texts Stop Wrecks: Driving Facts
      [5] Stop Texts Stop Wrecks: Driving Facts

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      Last Updated on March 13, 2019

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

      You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

      Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

      1. Work on the small tasks.

      When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

      Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

      2. Take a break from your work desk.

      Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

      Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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      3. Upgrade yourself

      Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

      The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

      4. Talk to a friend.

      Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

      Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

      5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

      If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

      Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

      Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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      6. Paint a vision to work towards.

      If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

      Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

      Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

      7. Read a book (or blog).

      The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

      Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

      Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

      8. Have a quick nap.

      If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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      9. Remember why you are doing this.

      Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

      What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

      10. Find some competition.

      Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

      Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

      11. Go exercise.

      Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

      Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

      As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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      Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

      12. Take a good break.

      Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

      Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

      Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

      Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

      More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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