Hands free calling and texting has become a popular feature. Auto dealerships boast about the effectiveness and convenience this feature gives to drivers. When buying a new vehicle, shoppers will add this feature to their list of accessories they want in their vehicle. Hands free calling and texting gives assurance to the driver that they are driving safely while having a conversation on their phone. But, is this really what it seems? Does this feature keep you safe on the road or is it just another distraction?
We are dealing with two separate issues when considering if hands free calling and texting is dangerous or not. The first issue is the mechanics of holding a cell phone, looking away from the road towards the cell phone to dial a number or to text someone while driving and looking away from the road conditions. The hands free feature allows us to use the phone without looking at it while we are driving. This leaves both hands on the wheel and our eye sight on the road. Keep in mind at 60 mph the vehicle you are driving is traveling at 90 feet per second. If it takes 2-3 seconds to find a number or contact in your phone and dial it, your vehicle has covered 180-270 feet, a lot can happen.
The hands free feature is by far safer and less distracting. The second issue with this feature is complicated and rarely discussed but it is the most important. The conscious mind can only hold one thought at a time. Our brains are not equipped to process multiple thoughts at one time. So if you are driving at 60 mph (90 feet per second) and your phone call becomes that one thought in your mind, you will without knowing, neglect everything that is going on right in front of you. As your conversation becomes complicated, maybe about money, business, or important personal issues, your awareness of what’s around you and the 90 feet per second becomes less and less.
The answer is simple. Instead of losing your awareness, pull over to a safe location and make your important call or text. Be a smart driver, if your distracted by the phone conversation, do the right thing and pull off the roadway when it is safe to do so and give consideration to other drivers you are sharing the roadway with.