Defensive driving, while dealing with the distraction of talking on the phone, is an oxymoron.
The truth is that talking on the phone is distracting, of that there is little dispute.
And since some driving maneuvers require more brain power than others, undertaking these maneuvers while driving can be a recipe for disaster.
Research shows how distractions hinder defensive driving
According to researchers, parts of the brain that control vision and decision making, are both significantly hampered when talking on a phone, whether hand held or hands free. Thus greatly diminishing the ability to drive defensively.
Studies have shown that for defensive drivers, turning left or right can be especially dangerous when on the phone.
Our brains have a limited amount of resources available, and when turning right or left, drivers must consider multiple factors including pedestrians, traffic lights and oncoming traffic simultaneously.
Due to these finite mental resources, when we begin a discussion on the phone, our brain starts to shift resources, precisely at the same moment our brain needs all of these resources to carry out complicated driving maneuvers safely.
Is defensive driving helped by car manufacturers
So how are car manufactures responding to this scientific reality? By putting more and more built-in devices in their vehicles that can be a distraction to drivers.
Safety experts agree that one answer would be for automobile manufacturers to install deactivation systems if drivers attempt to use these devices while the car is in motion.
Is there help on the way for defensive drivers
A recent announcement by the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB), recommended that all states ban drivers from using portable electronic devices (PEDs) while operating a motor vehicle. According to the Governors Highway Traffic Association, 35 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam all ban texting while driving; nine states and the District of Columbia forbid hand-held cell phone use by drivers; and 30 states prohibit all cell phone use for beginning drivers. No state, however, currently bans the use of hands-free devices for drivers.
Are distracted drivers more dangerous than drunk drivers
Studies have shown that drivers making a phone call were four times as likely to cause an accident as other drivers, and that if you text and drive, you are eight times more likely to cause an accident than other drivers.
To help to put those numbers into some context, other studies that have looked at the crash risk for people who are driving when they’re drunk — at a .08 blood alcohol level –show that those drivers were also four times as likely to cause an accident than if they were not impaired. So the crash risk for being legally drunk or for talking on the phone while driving, is the same.
Drunk driving has been an ongoing problem since the invention of the automobile. The problem of distracted driving may be equally difficult to solve, but with more public awareness, and with the assistance of new laws and a more design improvements by auto manufactures, those interested in defensive driving may see a brighter day ahead.
A Sense Of Humor Defensive Driving 7920 Glenview Drive Richland Hills, TX 76180 (817) 577-8854