Study after study including this one from October, 2015 proves that we are seriously distracted when we drive and use hands free devices. The AAA considers a mental distraction rating of 2 or higher (out of 5) as potentially dangerous. In this study the drivers’ attention was distracted with a rating of 3.4. And notably, over a week’s time of practice, drivers’ performances did not improve.
According to the US Department of Transportation, more than 3000 people died and 424,000 were injured in car crashes involving distracted driving in 2014.
We believe we can multi-task and are good at it. Yet we are fooling ourselves. That is a major cognitive error. We are distracted when we don’t even know it and that fact is even more dangerous. We think that because we are physically attentive that we are fine. However, we must remember that mental inattention occurs quite often including when we are on the phone (even if by hands free operation). That means our ability to properly and timely appreciate a risk or perceive a problem is dangerously delayed.
Please drive safely and wisely to best protect yourself, your family and others on the roadways.