By now we all know the dangers of texting while driving, but a new AAA study shows that even hands-free technology (In-car systems, bluetooth, etc.) can provide dangerous distractions for drivers.
“This is the third part in a series of studies that looked at cognitive distractions. So hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, seemingly paying attention but your mind is otherwise engaged,” says Beth Mosher of AAA Chicago.
AAA tested drivers in ten different vehicles using three different phones, and they used numerous devices to measure their cognitive processes.
The average reaction time for a driver is around 400 milliseconds. But AAA’s findings show that when using hands-free technology, that number jumped to 650 milliseconds and the reaction time remained slower than average for another 27 seconds. A
“What these findings really say is that it can take a lot longer than expected for the mind to readjust to the task of driving after issuing a voice command or a text,” adds Mosher.
And that’s why those who teach driver’s education are stressing the importance of avoiding any use of a phone.
“Stay off your phone. Even if you have the Bluetooth. You’re sitting there, you’re concentrating on what they’re saying, you’re listening to them. You’re going to respond back to them and your brain can’t do two things at one time,” adds Drive Right owner, Barry Mollencupp.
Molencupp has been teaching young drivers for over 30 years and says that while spreading awareness is important, it’s parents leading by example that is most impactful.
“Parents need to be the example and set the example with the cell phone and everything that goes on in the car.”
So while you may be keeping your eyes on the road, remember that regardless of where you’re looking, it’s where your mind is at that counts the most.