Everyone knows about the dangers of distracted driving, especially the risks of using a cell phone when behind the wheel. You may even take steps to stay safer, such as installing and using a hands-free device for your cell phone so that you can use it when driving. However, you may have a false sense of security.
The National Safety Council explains that hands-free devices do not eliminate the risk. While you may think that the risk is with physically using the phone and taking your eyes off the road to look at the phone, there is also a risk in holding a conversation. So, going hands-free only removes part of the risk of using a cell phone when behind the wheel.
Talking is distracting
When you hold a phone conversation, your mind focuses on that conversation instead of the task of driving. Since you are not paying full attention to driving, it increases the potential of an accident. It still distracts you even though your eyes may be on the road and your hands on the steering wheel.
A good way to demonstrate this is to think about what else you cannot do when talking on the phone. You cannot sing along with a song or read road signs. Your mind can only focus on one task at a time. You will mute other tasks while you focus on the task at hand.
Distracted driving occurs when you fail to use one of the three components required for focused driving. These components are physical, visual and mental. You need to have your hands physically on the wheel, your eyes on the road and your mind on the task of driving. A hands-free device only covers the first two components. Talking on the phone still removes the mental component.