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The Multi-Tasking Mommy

I read an interesting article today about multi-tasking when driving. The bottom line: it’s a bad idea. I’m sure you know that already though!

The study centered on how the brain is able to perform when a person is doing tasks such as driving and talking on the cell phone. Driving, it turns out, requires an incredible amount of brain power. I remember when I was first learning to drive and I couldn’t stand to have the radio on because it distracted me so. Now I drive past very young looking, possibly new drivers, texting and talking on their cell phones. I find it amazing, if not scary.

According to data, in over 80% of crashes, driver inattention was the root cause of the event. That’s pretty amazing. I rarely talk on my cell phone when driving. If it’s a difficult or intense conversation, I do pull over to the side of the road or I stop in a parking lot. However, I am not so good about reducing my other distractions.

Ask any parent and it is common to be multi-tasking dealing with kid issues. Things like stopping an argument between siblings or dealing with a crying infant are stressful and can affect the quality of your driving. The reality of the situation is that as a parent, you will need to multi-task at times. Just remember to be safe.

If the older children are arguing about the radio station, turn it off. If your infant is crying inconsolably and the tension is affecting your driving, pull over to a safe place and do what needs to be done to soothe him. This may mean changing that diaper or nursing him so you can make the rest of the journey safely. Never try to drive and say, pick up the dropped security blanket or pacifier!

I keep an activity bag in the back of the car for my older children to keep them busy during drives. I find that if they are busy, they are less likely to argue amongst themselves. I also keep some toys for our son in the car so that if he gets fussy, the older children can pacify him until either I can get to a safe spot to figure out what is wrong or we make it to our destination.

To my knowledge, no studies have ever been done on the amount of accidents caused when dad or mom takes their eyes off the road to give their toddler a cookie because he is hungry and screaming. It would be interesting though!

Do you have any tips for dealing with family distractions when you are driving? Do you feel that it’s important to limit your distractions or do you think you do a pretty good job of handling things as they happen?

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