Vehicle Connectivity and Safety: To Be or Not to Be Hands Free?

Written by a Guest Blogger

With the increased use of hands-free devices, more and more people are jumping on the bandwagon of distracted driving. That is, they’re driving while talking on the phone. But, they’re doing it in a supposedly safer way. Is it really safer though? Some critics say “no.” Here’s what you need to know.

Hands-Free Isn’t Safer

A study from the University of Alberta found that those driving with hands-free devices were still at a substantial risk for getting into a car crash compared to those who focused solely on driving.

Yagesh Bhambhani, the professor who oversaw the study, said that there was an increase in the number of driving errors as well as the severity of errors. This rise is something that Vancouver car accident lawyers like Watson Goepel have also noticed in their law practice.

Even voice-to-text applications do not increase driver safety, according to the study. Many jurisdictions have made the practice of talking and texting while driving illegal, but they do allow hands-free use of cell phones.

The Alberta study asked participants to drive for 4 minutes without distraction, and then drive 2 minutes while talking on the phone (hands-free). Every driver committed errors while talking.

Put Down The Phone

One important lesson from the Alberta study is to put down your phone while driving. There is no conversation that’s worth your life or the life of someone else on the road. Accidents can be expensive, costing thousands of dollars in property damage along, not to mention medical bills.

Silence The Phone

Putting the phone down might not be enough for some people. You might need to silence the phone or turn it off while driving. Tell others when you are heading out on the road, and let them know that you will be unavailable while driving.

This might initially seem inconvenient if someone needs to change plans with you mid-travel. However, the alternative is to substantially increase your risk of a car crash, which is unacceptable.

Turn Off The Radio

Another way to minimize distractions is to shut off the radio. This will help you focus even more on the road and less on what new song has just come out.

Introduce Distractions Gradually

Almost everyone overestimates their ability to handle distractions. And, for 90+ percent of the population, the best move is probably to avoid all distractions while driving. But, for some, distractions can help make a long drive more bearable.

The trick to introducing distractions is to do so slowly. For example, you might practice driving with the radio on, with nothing else to distract you. Once you’ve mastered this, you might practice starting a phone call before you pull out of your driveway.

However, it’s important to realize that being distracted while driving, initiating distractions while driving, and ending them while driving all present special risks – risks that could result in an accident. So, while it may be good for you to condition yourself to become a better driver, it can also introduce unnecessary danger.

About the Blogger

Philip Hadsell is an IT enthusiast and researcher. He enjoys keeping up with the latest advances in digital technology. He often shares his research through blogging.

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Michael Gray

Mike has roots in the automotive service industry. He began diagnosing and fixing cars at a young age in his family’s service station. He has worked in automotive parts supply stores, towing companies, and service facilities. After graduating from St. Cloud State University (MN) with a Bachelor’s degree, he implemented and taught a basic car care program at the high school level. During work on his Master’s degree at Illinois State University (IL), he was a curriculum specialist on a National Science Foundation project where he co-authored ten integrated mathematics, science, and technology books designed for team teaching. Mike has also supervised teachers in Career and Technology Education as a school system administrator.

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