When I am on my bike I keep my eyes open for two things: parked cars with people about to open doors, and drivers with cell phones, particularly in big SUVs or vans. They just aren't looking for cyclists, and car concentrating on more important things. The New York Times looks at the issue of using cars as offices, and the dangers of talking or texting while driving.
Just this week US Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood complained that six thousand Americans were killed last year by distracted drivers.
"They're doing it every day of the week, in the rain, and with kids" in their vehicle, he said, calling distracted driving "an epidemic that has overtaken America and is getting worse".
The New York Times has a fun game where you can try to drive and text at the same time and see how your reaction times are affected. I failed. Try it here.
The Times notes that many people feel obligated to work while driving, that real estate brokers and sales people say "In this merciless economy, they say, they have to make every minute count, and respond instantly to opportunities and challenges."
But researchers say we are not that good at multi-tasking and are probably doing lousy work to go along with lousy driving.
"There is an illusion of productivity," said David E. Meyer, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan. "It's actually counterproductive. To the extent that someone is focused on driving, the quality of work product is diminished," he added. "To the extent someone is focused on work and not driving, there's a risk of crashing and burning. Something's got to give."
More in the New York Times