[OT] Hit and Run

Von Fugal fuglv at cs.byu.edu
Wed Aug 22 23:55:35 MDT 2007

* Kenneth Burgener [Wed, 22 Aug 2007 at 09:46 -0600]
> Joseph Hall wrote:
> > On 8/22/07, Kenneth Burgener <kenneth at mail1.ttak.org> wrote:
> >> I know when I am talking on a cell phone I am more distracted then if I
> >> were not.  I think it would be very hard to dispute that.
> > 
> > See, that's what I'm getting at. I could be wrong, but I like to think
> > that my driving is the same whether I'm talking to the person in the
> > seat next to me or if I'm talking on a hands-free set (I refuse to
> > talk on the drive and talk on the phone without the hands-free set). I
> > certainly don't feel any more distracted. I suppose anyone that's
> > driven with me in both situations would be able to tell me better.
> During normal driving I could agree with you.  I think the problem comes
> when there is an emergency.  If you had to do an emergency stop, or
> swerve out of the way of something, or some other abrupt movement, and
> person in the car talking with you would instinctively shut their mouth,
> thereby freeing your mind to focus on the situation at hand.  The person
> on the phone will not have the same immediate reaction, and you will
> likely have to focus some attention to tell the person to shut their
> mouths for a few moments, or take the mental time to ignore their
> incoming comments.
I think not. It's way to easy to tune out a conversation or other
distraction in an emergency situation. If someone consciously tries to
maintain said conversation throughout the emergency (keeping them
informed, "omg, this is crazy, too bad you can't see it. I'm going to
die!" etc) is another story. I tune out conversations (in our out of the
car) when I have to check my blind spots, then I appologize, ask for a
repeat of the last bit of info, and resume the conversation. We know
that there is no such thing as multitasking, there's only context
switching, and it comes down to a matter of prioritizing. If you're
phone conversation carries a higher priority than driving that's when
you run into trouble. Yes, the context switch can be very detrimental in
an emergency situation, but then again you almost always have a context
switch happening in those situations, no matter what you're doing. The
cell phone is as bad as intoxication thing carries no water. It's not
the reaction time of an intoxicated person that's soo bad, it's the
inability to make good judgement, impaired motor skills, and the
impossibility to "tune out" the intoxication in those emergency
situations that make it so terrible.

Von Fugal
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