The majority of us think that using a hands-free device while driving is safer, but is this really the case? You might want to think again as just because you’re not holding you’re mobile phone, using a hands-free phone while driving is just as dangerous as holding your phone. Although using a hands-free phone is not against the law, they are just as distracting as physically holding one in your hand, wouldn’t you agree?
When you’re driving you need to have your eyes on the road, both hands on the wheel and the road in front of you should have your full attention, so shouldn’t hands-free just be banned? Perhaps we should just switch off our mobile phones while driving?
Texting and driving is a huge problem due to its potential for causing distracted driving and accidents. Safety is key when you’re behind the wheel and in order to remain aware of your surroundings and any hazards that may appear while driving, you full attention needs to be on the road rather than on technology that can overload your brain and affecting your ability to drive safely. If you’re not paying attention, then you are a potential hazard on the road and not only are you putting yourself at risk, but also other drivers around you.
It’s easy to understand why you would think that using a hands-free phone shouldn’t be a problem as surely its better than having it in your hand or trying to drive with one hand, but the act of having a conversation with someone while driving in itself is enough of a distraction. Although you may think that you can multi-task while driving, which means that you’ll be ok having a conversation with someone too, the fact is that as your brain toggles between driving and having conversation, your brain isn’t as focused as it should be on the road and these activities are then forced to compete against each other.
If you’re driving and having a conversation, you’re therefore prioritising the importance of someone chatting to you about what you’re doing later this evening than road safety, which then makes you become at risk of having an accident. If you’re distracted while driving then this also means that you’re likely to take longer to react to hazards on the road or maybe even miss hazards altogether. Don’t let your hands-free phone distract you and affect your decision making or driving performance as you could cause yourself to be at risk of a crash.
But, are hands-free phones more dangerous than talking to your fellow passengers while driving? If having a conversation on your hands-free phone is dangerous then surely having a conversation in person with someone while you’re driving is just as dangerous. Perhaps not. Phone conversations have the potential to be more distracting, for example, when you’re talking on the phone to someone, you don’t have the same visual environment, unless the person on the phone is driving to of course, which can cause distractions for the driver who may be trying to visualise something that perhaps the person on the phone is talking about and the driver is also not able to pause a phone conversation if needed to concentrate more on the road if it’s necessary.
Remember, stay safe and stay aware. Just because your eyes are on the road it doesn’t mean that you’re driving safely. Concentration is crucially important and just because you may think hands-free technology is safer than actually having your phone in your hand but they can still be dangerous.