Monday, October 13, 2014

Can I please just drive?

My son and I are on the way to the grocery store and my phone dings. I ignore it. It dings again. Then my phone rings. Normally, I have Bluetooth enabled in my car, but it is off right now, so I don't answer the phone. My son asks me why I don't answer the phone and my answer is, "Because I'm driving and people can wait."

I've written about distracted driving before, but technology has changed since then. And it turns out that even though we have new technology to help us go hands free, it may actually be making us more distracted. Instead of just hands-free, what we really need is mental-free.

Let me explain: When I first got Siri on my phone, I would ask her for information or to read my texts to me, but I found that she didn't always understand what I wanted. So, I would spend more time talking to her, slowing down the way I speak or talking louder - all of which was distracting me from the road. My concentration was definitely on my device and not where it should have been.

And suddenly I would look up from these activities and realize I hadn't really been paying attention. And that is a very scary place to be.

My phone wants my attention, but it can't have it. I need to get somewhere safely.

But, wait...there's more. You see, that link above isn't the only study about this issue. There have been several. The ones on that link actually take a look at the technology built into cars, asking participants to perform a number of activities including dialing a phone number and playing music. And, overall, the results don't look good.

Do you go hands-free with your devices in the car? Do you feel like it is more or less distracting? Share with me in the comments.

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