Deadly distractions

Listen to more than your headphones while walking or bicycling

People are distracted. We’ve developed methods to shut down our deeper cognitive processes in almost any situation. We crave superficial mental stimulation at all times, even when the distraction is dangerous to us. We’ve proven this with our addiction to texting while driving.

Our unfounded belief that we can multitask was bad enough when it was just twisting the knob on the radio, but now we write entire tomes on a touch keyboard the size of a pack of playing cards. And it appears that even when faced with statistics that show that distracted driving is nearly as dangerous as drinking and driving, we continue doing it.

Last week, the Internet journal Injury Prevention presented a study that went further, showing that triple the number of headphone-wearing pedestrians have been seriously hurt or killed near roadways and railways in the last six years. Most were young people listening to loud music who didn’t hear a train coming or that car barreling down on them.

Our plea to you: Walkers, joggers and bicycle riders, don’t fill both ears with sound that can drown out important auditory clues about surrounding danger. And drivers, please put your cellphones away!