Connecticut residents often multitask when driving, for better or worse. Many people rely on GPS systems to navigate the way. Others cannot tolerate long drives without listening to some music.
Hands-free technology helps keep drivers safe – or so manufacturers and producers claim. But how safe is hands-free tech? Can this tech keep drivers safe no matter what risks of distraction they face on the road?
The National Safety Council’s opinion
The National Safety Council’s answer is no. They do not think hands-free technology solves all distracted driving problems. Why? Because hands-free tech only targets two of three sources of driver distraction.
First, hands-free tech allows drivers to keep their hands on the wheel. This is important. It reduces the physical distractions a driver may encounter. If they keep their hands on the wheel, they shorten their reaction time.
Second, hands-free tech lets a driver keep their eyes on the road. Visual distractions are constant. In a few seconds, a driver who is not looking at the road may crash into other drivers. Keeping your eyes on the road also increases your ability to react to dangers.
Where hands-free tech fails
But hands-free tech does not allow you to keep your mind on driving. Cognitive distractions are some of the most dangerous and prevalent distractions drivers face. They come from everywhere. Listening to music is a cognitive distraction. So is conversing with passengers. Unfortunately, hands-free tech distracts drivers as well.
While hands-free tech has certain positive impacts on driver safety, it is not a cure-all. It will not keep drivers safe by itself. Drivers should understand this before buying hands-free tech. They should not assume it will keep them safe.