Dangers Faced By Distracted Runners
Don’t run with scissors, you’ll put someone’s eye out!
Running with headphones is the same as running with scissors. But... more dangerous.
Humans Are Not Good At Multitasking!
Humans are not good at multitasking.
You might think you are, but according to neuroscientists, multi tasking is merely doing one task at a time and switching back and forth with another task. That means that while you are doing one task, you are absent from doing the other.
Headphones and earbuds can reduce your ability to perceive your environment by 40 percent. In 2017 about 7,400 pedestrians were struck and killed by motor vehicles by distracted drivers. California led the nation with 858 pedestrian deaths, according to The National Safety Council.
Death As A Possible Outcome
Death isn’t the only outcome.
We do not know for certain how many injuries occur every year by distracted runners. We do know that runners often fall, from tripping on cracks, running into stationary objects, or inadvertent traffic incursions from inattention.
London, England found a polite way to handle it—by padding lampposts!
These Headphones Will Be The Death Of Me!
Statistics on distracted runners are difficult to obtain. but there was one study conducted in 2012, by National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) Reporting a significant number of deaths resulting from headphone use, when pedestrians were struck by trains or busses.
An analysis of 20,000 cases of pedestrian accidents crossing intersections showed 70% resulted in a fatality, with 29% reporting the victim having failed to heed an auditory warning sounded just prior to the incident. Basch et al. (2015)
Why We Discourage Headphones
Have you ever tried talking to a guy who is reading the news paper or watching a sports game on TV?
He’s not very receptive is he?
When you have your earbuds in, you are sending a clear signal to other people,
"I am not available! Talking to someone is a distraction. I’ll do it but you have only part of my attention."
It is not a full and rich exchange of ideas, or of one's self. Sharing yourself completely with another person, now that’s something of great value! It is the substance of relationships, it is what gives depth and meaning to friendships.
There is a communication that takes place with a fellow runner, even when running without conversation.
It is a quiet, but powerful connection, that is not possible when you are wearing your earbuds.
Quiet, But Profound, Closing Thoughts
Music is beautiful, but meaningful connection, friendship, even love fills the soul and gives life meaning and texture that can last a lifetime.
Please don’t miss the opportunity to forge lasting relations, loose the earbuds, and tune in to friendship.
See you out on the roads and trails!
Dr. Steve Smith