A disturbing number of drivers still do not see the harm in responding to a text or answering a phone call while driving. That is why many states have made efforts to punish individuals caught driving while distracted. However, many of these laws contain loopholes allowing people to use hands-free devices while driving, and that can actually be more dangerous.
Distracted driving is a major cause of car accidents in Missouri. Many people believe distracted driving is anything that requires you to take your hands off the steering wheel or your eyes off the road. For instance, eating while driving is dangerous because one hand holds food. It is for this reason many manufacturers of hands-free items advertise their products as safe alternatives. However, studies suggest the opposite.
Your mind wanders
Ultimately, it does not matter if your hands are on the wheel and your eyes are straight ahead. If your mind focuses on something else, then you are at an increased risk of being in an accident. With a wandering mind, you could easily drive past a stop sign or endanger a pedestrian because you cannot react as fast to changes in the road.
Additionally, the distraction does not end when you end the phone call. Research suggests it takes up to 27 seconds for your mind to re-focus on the task at hand.
Another danger this technology poses is that drivers mistakenly believe they have done something safe. A person believes talking on a Bluetooth device is safer than sending a text, so that driver becomes lulled into a false sense of security. Using a hands-free device is ultimately more dangerous than listening to the radio, listening to an audio book or talking with a passenger in the front seat.
It is best to simply avoid any activities while driving. When you are on the road, your full attention should be on traffic.