Many people believe that they can safely drive and have a phone conversation if they do not use their hands. Unfortunately, if you talk hands-free, you may miss half of what happens around you.
Hands-free devices could still cause distracted driving.
The struggle with multitasking
People often believe that they are better multitaskers than they are. While it is possible to repeatedly practice specific tasks until you can perform them with little attention, multitasking is a complex process.
According to a neuroimaging study, cited by Brainfacts.org, people can multitask better when the tasks are not similar. Often, those tasks use different brain systems. Even when you perform different tasks, your brain can only focus on so many things at the same time.
You may not notice the struggle until it is too late. Take, for example, texting while watching TV. You may suddenly realize that you do not know what happened. The same thing can happen if you are on the phone while driving. You may not notice an obstacle until it is too late.
The myth of safe cell phone use
To drive and carry on a phone conversation takes a lot of thought, explains the National Safety Council. Have you ever tried to read a book and carry on with a phone conversation? It is almost impossible. When you drive and have a conversation, you cannot focus fully on either task. You may miss traffic signals or be unable to brake in time for obstacles.
In terms of cell phone-related crashes, experts do not know the magnitude of the problem. Generally, drivers will underreport cell phone use related to crashes.