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Do Cars and Cell Phones Mix?

March 21, 2011 by - Automotive Editor

Right now legislators in several states are passing strict laws providing severe punishments for people who try to send text messages and drive at the same time. This, they say, is more dangerous than just about anything you could do behind the wheel with the exception of driving drunk.

They might be surprised to know that an act as simple as talking on a cell phone is also more dangerous than driving drunk. Are you surprised to hear this? You shouldn’t be.

No Talking and Driving

Many states have already passed laws preventing drivers from talking on their cells phones while driving. In many cities police are given discretion to decide whether or not a driver talking on a cell phone is showing good judgement and driving safely.

Distraction

Repeated studies have shown driving while talking on a cell phone is among the most dangerous things you could do. It distracts your attention away from the vehicle, the road, other drivers and anything unforeseen which might pop up.

Reaction Time

Talking on a cell phone while driving reduces your reaction time. Even if you have one hand on the wheel while driving and think you are keeping your eyes on the road, you simply cannot be as careful a driver as you can without a cell phone in your hand.

Divided Attention

The most distracting part of talking on a cell phone while driving is the fact your attention is being diverted by the conversation you are having. When we have a discussion with someone we tend to focus on that discussion. That discussion takes our attention away from whatever else we are doing. Anyone who has tried to cook dinner or do homework or watch television while they are on the phone knows what happens: dinner gets burned, homework doesn’t get done and you miss your favorite part of the show.

When you risk driving while talking on the phone what you miss might be the car which just pulled out in front of you, or the pedestrian who just stepped out on the street!

Hands-Free Cell Phones

And do not be fooled into thinking a hands-free device is any better. Sure, you have both hands the wheel. The fact is your mind, the most important tool you use while driving, is occupied. If your mind is busy having a conversation your reaction time is reduced and you simply will not be able to pay close enough attention to your driving.

You might have driven enough miles to get your family to the Moon and back. If you do it with a cell phone in your hand or a conversation in your ear, you simply are not doing it safely enough.

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