Modern parents have a lot on their plate. Quite a few of them work in addition to taking care of their families. They may have to juggle the needs of multiple children in addition to the demands of their job and their own life.
The average parent probably does a significant amount of multitasking while interacting with and transporting their children on any given day. While you take your oldest child hockey practice, you might quiz your younger child on their spelling words on the way. You might also have to stop fights between your kids or talk through what happened during their day. Unfortunately, multitasking at the wheel can easily lead to a car crash.
Despite the pressure to do two things at once, your brain simply can’t
Multitasking has become an expectation for both employees and parents. People generally expect someone to be able to handle several different concerns simultaneously. However, those expectations run contrary to what we know about how the human brain works.
Simply put, you do not have the cognitive ability to focus fully on two or more things at one time. Your brain is not a computer with a processor that can run two programs simultaneously. If you are trying to remember spelling words or go through a checklist of sports supplies to make sure that someone has packed everything they need, you won’t fully focus on the act of driving.
While interactions and conversations with your kids while driving are unavoidable, trying to keep them light and performing the mentally strenuous tasks outside of the vehicle is safer for everyone involved.
Being less focused leaves you at risk for other people’s mistakes
If you have years of experience in multitasking, it is possible that you may be able to manage your vehicle safely without causing a crash while talking with your children.
Unfortunately, the more focused you are on secondary interactions and functions, the less mental energy you can give both to your own driving and to surveilling the area around you. You could easily fail to notice the distracted driver with a phone in their face who cruises right through the stop sign at a four-way stop intersection.
Avoiding anything that takes your full attention off of driving will help you and your loved ones safer. If you do get into a crash caused by another driver, especially if your kids are in the vehicle, it’s important to know your rights so that you can get the support and compensation you’ll need to recover from the crash.