The multi-tasking next generation of NW drivers

by Sharlyn Petit
     For those of us with teens in our lives, we know they’re skilled in going all directions at once, with a smartphone grip so unwavering our fingers cramp just thinking about it. Honestly, that’s most adults we know, too.
     Multi-tasking has its drawbacks. A study by Oregon State University surveyed 1,400 Northwest teens and found that while the message on the dangers of texting and driving is getting through, it’s life’s other distractions that are causing teens to lose focus.
     Changing clothes and shoes? Completing homework? Fussing with contact lenses?
All are completely routine driving behaviors according to some teens in the study.
     Behavioral scientist Bruce Simons-Morton says teens simply don’t recognize risks as much as adults; they’re careful as new drivers, but become laissez-faire after getting licensed.
     We’ve probably all witnessed some appalling driving behavior. Recently, while I was stuck on the ever-lovely Denny Way in a one-car-per-green dilemma, this was the scene: driver jumps out of a running car to grab a belt from the backseat, driver leisurely threads his belt through each loop (driver and rear passenger doors opened wide into traffic), light shockingly turns green, and driver hobbles back into his car, forgetting to close the passenger door.
     Since traffic opened up in that moment, I didn’t stick around for the conclusion.
     Even if you think you’ve got it under enough control to quickly reach for your mascara in the bottom of your purse, or pick the tomatoes off of your sub sandwich, please don’t. Pull over to a safe stopping point to deal with your distractions.
     Let’s all give uni-tasking a try, otherwise known as focusing, and make our focus driving.
     Read more about the study at oregonlive.com.

by  Jon Osterberg

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