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Is hands-free calling really a safer way to talk and drive?

The advent of hands-free calling technology was lauded by the automotive industry as a way to more safely make a call while driving. The idea was that keeping both hands on the wheel makes people drive better.

While this may make some degree of theoretical sense, the truth is that it’s our brains – not our hands – that lead to the most distraction behind the wheel.

What the science says

Recent studies from around the world all point to the same conclusion: that any type of talking on the phone while driving dramatically reduces your attentiveness on the road. In fact, researchers have found that if you have a phone call while driving just 50 minutes per week, you’re five times more likely to get into an accident.

What is the reason for this?

“Multitasking” has become a buzzword in recent years. As a society, we’re constantly trying to do multiple things at once: cooking dinner while checking our phone while having a conversation with our kids. But the fact of the matter is that multitasking is a fallacy.

It’s impossible for our brains to focus on more than one thing at a time. If we’re having a conversation with our friend while driving, we’re not actually doing both things at once. Our brain is constantly darting its attention back and forth between both activities. This makes us more likely to have a delayed reaction when a critical incident occurs on the road.

What is the solution?

In this age of unlimited connectivity, it can feel as though you should be accessible at all times. However, when driving, it may be worthwhile to turn your phone on silent – or simply ignore any incoming calls or texts until you reach your destination. One simple decision could be a life changer when you’re behind the wheel.