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Is Hands-Free Really Safe

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With ever advancing technology, the world has become a better place but also a riskier place. We all love our phones and our gadget addiction is increasing day by day. In a country like the United States where the majority of the population owns cars, it is disturbing to know that 94% of all car accidents are due to driver error (Source: National Statistics Council). At any moment 7% of drivers are using cell phones and are not following hands-free safety regulations. Multitasking is a myth when it comes to driving. The brain quickly toggles between tasks – but can’t do two things at a time. The brain activity which processes images is reduced by as much as one third while talking on the phone when driving. The National Safety Council says the issue is more mental than physical. Drivers talking on a cell phone can overlook up to 50 percent of what’s around them while looking out the windshield and this can be very dangerous.

Distractions are Everywhere

Some of us might bring up an argument that driving distraction can also be equally caused by co-passengers. This theory, however, is not true. Distraction is caused when the driver is required to build a mental imagery of the conversation which normally happens when on a phone call. Co-passengers travel with the driver and are of a great help when it comes to warning drivers in case of obstructions. Co-passengers are most likely to refrain from serious conversations when there are hindrances on the road. Someone on the other end of the phone is oblivious to the situation of the road and keeps talking thus distracting the driver.

Don’t Believe Car Company Hands-Free Marketing

New findings from a National Safety Council public opinion poll specify that 80 percent of drivers across America incorrectly believe that hands-free devices are safer than using a handheld phone. “While many drivers honestly believe they are making the safe choice by using a hands-free device, it’s just not true,” David Teater, senior director of transportation initiatives at the Council expressed.
People have known for over a decade that talking on phone and driving is not safe. However, as a part of a sales gimmick, some car manufacturers promote the features of their car by marketing hands-free devices as a safer way of talking and texting when driving. This marketing poses a very serious threat for car buyers who think that hand-free solves the danger of talking on the phone in a car. The human brain is involved in a lot of complex decisions while driving on the road and talking on the phone adds to the complication. A study compiled by U-Haul also states that talking on a phone and driving is more dangerous than drinking and driving (see below)!

Distracted driving impaired driving with hands-free devices

Source: U Haul

While going on your next driving trip, check your hands-free and concentrate on the road. The only ‘safe’ phone in a car is the one which is switched off.

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