Driving and Distractions

celphone_mediumErgonomics is based on the science of fitting our life to our physical and mental capabilities and limitations. When it comes to physical abilities, our muscles tend to provide us with an inside voice that tells us whether we are close to our limits (whether we listen to them or not is another issue altogether).

When it comes to using our brain, it’s not as black and white. Over the past few years, researchers have focused on ‘reaction time’ to determine how distracted and impaired we can become when we are driving. At any given moment, we make decisions as we are distracted by road signs, conversation in the car (or on a cell phone), and other electronic devices or displays (radio, DVD, organizer).

It’s interesting because all of us have a line that we hopefully don’t cross – drinking and driving. What’s interesting is that research has found that drinking and driving, driving exhausted, dialing and driving and texting and driving can all have the same effect on our decision making capabilities and reaction times. (If you have ever driven behind someone on their cell phone, this isn’t a surprise.)

Not surpisingly, many companies and cities are creating policies directing workers to eliminate distractions (cell phones, texting, computer use while driving).

What’s your plan or do you need to have a wake-up call before you change your habits?