Distracted driving continues to be a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents, and one of the most common types of distraction involves the use of cell phones. Even if you choose not to engage in cell phone conversations while driving, you may share the road with many others who do not take the same approach to safety.
California state law prohibits the use of handheld devices while behind the wheel of a car but allows cellphone use via hands-free devices. While many drivers may use hands-free devices to help mitigate some of the risks involved with cell phone use while driving, such devices might not be as safe as you think.
Hands-free devices may allow you to make a phone call or send a text message without ever needing to take your eyes off the road or hands off the wheel. However, visual and manual distractions are hardly the only safety concerns, and the ways in which such devices could still prove dangerous may include:
- Impact on attention: Studies indicate that even a conversation that takes place via a hands-free device still takes up a portion of your concentration, removing it from the task at hand in the process.
- Information processing: Researchers also assert that those involved in a phone conversation may also struggle to safely observe their surroundings, as they may be incapable of processing all the information nearby.
- Reaction times: As you process information during a conversation, your ability to react to everything around you may also suffer, and anything that disrupts response times can be exceedingly dangerous.
- Multitasking: Studies also indicate that the human mind is simply incapable of performing more than one task at a time without losing focus, as your focus may constantly shift between each action for the duration.
If a conversation distracts another driver, even the presence of a hands-free device might not be enough to prevent a crash and keep you from suffering the repercussions.
Aftermath of a distracted driving crash
A major collision involving a distracted driver could cause you to suffer severe or even life-altering harm. When combined with extensive medical costs and a lengthy recovery period, a similar experience could have a lingering impact on your life. Since understanding the risks of succumbing to distraction might not always be enough to stave off a similar outcome, you could also find it in your best interests to seek insight on your options should the unthinkable occur.