Most people know that distracted driving is dangerous, but many still engage in the behavior. Many believe that they can safely multitask behind the wheel – that they are the exception to the rule.
Many individuals believe myths and misconceptions about distracted driving.
Let’s take a look three of them:
- Talking on a cell phone is just like talking to a passenger: Talking on a cell phone is more distracting than talking to a passenger. Vehicle passengers are aware of their surroundings and can point out potential dangers to the driver – such as a vehicle that has suddenly braked. The person on the phone will not be able to offer the same kind of help – nor will that person be able to tell when traffic conditions change that requires more concentration from the driver.
- Hands-free devices are safe: Many drivers use hands-free devices because they believe they offer a safer alternative to holding a phone. Unfortunately, this is not true. It’s no safer to use a hands-free device. Drivers using hands-free devices can miss seeing up to 50 percent of their surroundings. Holding a phone isn’t the problem – it’s the mental distraction that comes along with using a phone.
- I’m good at multitasking: Many who engage in distracted driving think they have superior multitasking skills. They believe they are safely able to use their phones and drive a car at the same time. But humans are not good multitaskers. The brain must switch between tasks (driving and having a conversation, for example) – it cannot safely do both at the same time.
Unfortunately, many people let these myths and misconceptions keep them from changing their behavior. They don’t want to stop. Many people who engage in distracted driving will use these false statements and ideas to justify their behavior.
This puts other drivers at risk. And more drivers who “only use hands-free devices because they are safer”, for example, will ultimately make our roads less safe.
They try hard, but distracted drivers are up against an impossible task: Trying to prove that distracted driving is, in fact, safe.
Remember: The only safe approach is a zero-tolerance approach to distracted driving.