The findings of a recent study reveal that drivers who think they are capable of using their mobile phones at the wheel are usually the least capable of multitasking successfully.
Psychologists examined 310 students to measure their actual and perceived multitasking ability. Use of phones while driving, which is of course illegal, was also tested, along with a variety of personality traits.
Lead researcher Professor David Sanbonmatsu, from the University of Utah, said the results indicate that the people talking on phones behind the wheel are people who are incapable of doing two things at once.
"We showed that people who multitask the most are those who appear to be the least capable of multitasking effectively," he said.
The findings show people's multitasking ability actually worsens each time they attempt two tasks at the same time.
Despite this, those who multitask believe their multitasking ability to be much higher than it is. Seven out of 10 participants considered themselves above average at multitasking, a feat which is statistically impossible. And people who can multitask tend not to, according to the study.
Using a phone while driving is not only illegal, but is also highly dangerous. As well as the physical risks, higher accident rates can lead to highercar insurance premiums.
Copyright Press Association 2013