One of the most useful things I’ve ever done especially as a parent is learn how to drive. I’m very particular about safety and take great care not to use my phone when driving, yet alone when I’m driving with the children. In the UK its illegal to drive whilst using a mobile phone and this is something which everyone should know about as its part of the theory test. However, time and time again I see people using them. I think that people assume that they wont get caught and that they are good drivers so it doesn’t matter. However, it’s vitally important to put your phone down while behind the wheel. If you think you wont get caught and you’re tempted to carry on and take that call or text that message, then read on:
Studies have shown that driving while using mobile phones increases the risk of accidents and is just as bad as driving while intoxicated. The reason for this is ‘driver distraction’. When you’re in a conversation with somebody while driving, you’re not concentrating on the road. Talking while driving reduces the driver’s response time because the brain needs to work extra hard to process the conversation taking place – talking on a phone narrows your focus away from the road and tips the balance of your concentration away from the road and onto your chat.
“We measured their attention level and found that subjects were four times more distracted while preparing to speak or speaking than when they were listening,” Dr. Amit Almor, a University of South Carolina psychology researcher, said in a study which was published in the journal Experimental Psychology.
If you think going hands-free is a solution to this, think again. Hands-free mobile devices only make the driver think that they’re safer, and this false sense of security could also impair their driving ability. Whoever may be on the other end of the phone will forgive you for not answering if you’re driving.
Texting While Driving
What’s worse than talking on a phone while driving? It’s texting while driving. When you’re texting, your sole focus is not on the road and that’s dangerous.
It’s important to keep your eyes on the road at all times, especially for new drivers. It’s really no exaggeration to say that a split second of distraction can be a matter of life or death when it comes to driving.
Safe Use is Ok
It is still important to keep your phone with you. If you were to be involved in an accident or your vehicle were to break down, it’d be useful to call for help. Make sure you device has plenty of battery life and invest in a charger that fits your car to help. If you need to make a non-emergency call then that’s fine too – but only after you’ve pulled over into a safe space.
Safety should be at the forefront of your mind for your entire car journey. With your phone this means two things: don’t compromise your safety by trying to use your phone but keep it charged and nearby should your own safety be at risk. Plenty of people do ‘get away’ with using their phones while behind the wheel but you shouldn’t follow suit. The risks really aren’t worth it.