There are tons of things that can distract a driver. You don’t have to be driving on a busy city street to be distracted. Rural settings can be extremely dangerous too. As technology moves forward and offers more ways to get and give information, we are constantly challenged to concentrate on the task at hand: operate the vehicle safely. Lives are at stake here.
Cell phones can be a big distraction. Many states have enacted laws prohibiting use of a cell phone while driving without a hands-free device. While a hands-free device can free up the hand of the person behind the wheel, some research has shown that the real distraction comes from having the conversation-not the act of holding the phone to your ear. This distraction is different from talking to someone that is riding in the car with you. A passenger can see some challenges, like an accident ahead, or traffic that is stopped. They may instinctively slow or stop their conversation or, better yet, offer to help by spotting exits or big hazards. The person on the other end of a cell phone conversation, however, cannot see any challenges that may face the driver. They will carry on their conversation regardless of the number of challenges facing the operator like slowing down, swerving to avoid a cow in the road, etc.
There are some options to remain free of distractions on the road. 1. Turn off the phone in the car. It may make more sense to return all calls when you are safely stopped. 2. Use technology. Some vehicles can “read” voice mails or e-mails aloud to the driver. Other equipment can actually jam your phone and not allow any calls to come in when the car is running.
Whatever option is chosen, it is important to remember that avoiding distractions when driving is crucial.