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Is Hands-Free Phone Use Really That Safe? Avoiding Car Accidents

by on September 21, 2016 » Add the first comment.

When California joined several other states in adopting cell phone laws while driving, lawmakers maintained that using a hands-free device was acceptable. As long as drivers are over the age of 18, they can legally use a hands-free device while behind the wheel in the Golden State. While this legislation initially sounds reasonable, researchers have since proclaimed the risks of using a hands-free device while driving. Learn the potential dangers of using a hands-free phone before you talk and drive.

Auto Accidents Because of Inattention Blindness

Talking or texting on a cell phone is the number-one source of driver distraction—an epidemic that causes about 80% of all vehicle crashes. While texting and driving is obviously dangerous because it takes the driver’s eyes away from the road, many people do not realize the dangers of simply talking and driving. When a driver’s mind is engaged elsewhere, such as on the conversation he or she is having on a hands-free device, inattention blindness occurs.

Inattention blindness is when your brain does not perceive what the eye sees. The brain does not interpret the image, impairing the driver even when he or she does not realize the problem. Talking on a cell phone and driving may not seem like a difficult multitasking activity, but it distracts drivers more than most realize, and can ultimately result in a car accident. When the brain is engaged in a conversation, it is not paying attention to the driving task at hand. This results in slower reaction times to changing roadway conditions, such as a pedestrian crossing the road, a light turning red or a motorcycle quickly splitting lanes.

The part of the brain that processes moving images experiences a one-third decrease in activity while talking on a cell phone. This decrease in activity can lead to an up to 50% loss of what a driver sees through the windshield while driving. Consider reading a book while talking on a cell phone. The brain cannot interpret what you are reading and what you are hearing/saying in equal measure. Similarly, the brain cannot focus on the road while you are talking—although the consequences are much direr than failing to pay attention to a book.

Emotional Distraction on the Road

Hands-free cell phone conversations can also lead to dangerous emotional changes in a driver. Emotional driving can be nearly as dangerous as taking your eyes away from the road. While you are staring at the roadway, your mental state is somewhere else—angry at a spouse whom you are arguing with over the phone or upset at news someone just delivered. Being in an emotional state unfit for operating a vehicle can result in erratic driving, road rage, and breaking the rules of the road.

Emotion-based distraction can alter a driver’s decision-making abilities, heightening feelings of stress or even of happiness to the point where it becomes a danger. Being involved in an intense phone call, even hands-free, can be upsetting enough to affect the driver’s abilities. If you have to take a hands-free phone call, pull over in a safe location to talk. If the conversation has serious emotional effects, get out of the vehicle and take a break to cool down before driving.

It Can Wait! – Do Your Part to Reduce Auto Accidents

Talking with someone via a hands-free device is not the same as talking to passengers. While you are technically talking in both cases, passengers in your vehicle can point out potential driving hazards during a conversation. As another set of eyes in the car, a passenger can recognize when the roadway is dangerous and stop talking to allow the driver to focus. Hands-free talking and driving is not as safe as many people believe. Even though hands-free talking is legal for adults in California, driving completely cell-phone free is the only way to eliminate this distraction.

Even if you closely follow the rules of the road, you might unfortunately still be involved in an auto accident. If this is the case, and you are injured from a car accident, be sure to get some expert support from the Los Angeles personal injury lawyer team at Grey Law.

Contact them today for a free consultation at 323-857-9500.

Find more like this: Car Accident, Distracted Driving Accidents

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