Just how distracted can you be?

We all know that distracted driving is dangerous. But what constitutes being distracted? Are there levels of distraction?

Research by Dr. David Strayer from the University of Utah shows on a scale how different activities are ranked by their level of distraction.

The Strayer Scale shows that the lowest level of distraction is listening to the radio, followed by listening to an audio book. There is more mental activity going on when listening to a book. The most distracting activity is doing a series of math or memory tasks.

It’s important to note that many new cars have features that allow the driver to do all sorts of tasks, many of which should not be done while driving. And just because you are using voice-activated technology doesn’t necessarily make it safer. There’s something call “inattention blindness.” You can still miss something even if you’re staring at it. As Strayer states in this story from Encompass Magazine, “Eyes off the road is a bad thing. It’s just that eyes on the road doesn’t mean it’s safe.”

Jan

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