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Driving and having a hands free conversation is like driving drunk. Nonsense, I say.

By Rigval on 09 Apr 2010

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-using this while driving is as good as having a few bottles of anything alcoholic according to two spoilsports.

Recently a study was made on the concentration of people using a phone in the car, even while using a hands-free device. The study found that braking reaction time and driving skill were impaired in almost all motorists who took part in the study. Two scientists, Jason Watson and David Strayer, psychologists at the University of Utah, located in the land of cheeseburgers and fries, asked 200 volunteers to drive along a motorway in simulator. Braking reaction time, following distance, memory and the ability to do a simple sum were all measured.

The subjects were then asked to repeat the process but this time they were asked to conduct a phone conversation which involved memorizing certain words and carrying out more mathematical problems. Their findings, to be published in the Psychonomic Bulletin and Review (a journal that isnít important for most of us as it does not contain any pictures of cars, gadgets or women for that matter), illustrate that almost all of us cannot do more than one thing at a time. For those who were not 'supertaskers' , which have the ability to multitask properly (only 2.5% on the test subjects were) it took 20% longer to hit the brakes when needed and following distances increased 30% as the drivers failed to keep pace with simulated traffic while driving.Memory performance declined 11%, and the ability to do maths problems fell 3%.

The study concluded that driving performance routinely declines under "dual-task conditions" and is comparable to the impairment seen in drunk drivers. However, when the supertaskers talked while driving, they displayed no change in their normal braking times, following distances or maths ability, and their memory abilities actually improved 3 per cent.

So, according to the two scientists (or spoilsports), you will drive like a drunken sailor and become the most dangerous person ever to put their hands on a steering wheel if you talked on the phone even while using a hands free device. Iím sorry but I think this research finding is absolutely rubbish. I mean, who does complicated maths formulas while driving for Gods sake?

You see, what that means it that while you are having both eyes on the road, both hands on the steering wheel, both feet on some pedals but if your ears are listening to the voice from the hands free device as well as the surrounding it isnít safe enough for you to be driving. This would also mean that if someone were sitting beside you, then engage you in a deep and intense conversation on mathematics, especially the exact formula on how much energy it would require to crack an atom you would lose all concentration, crash into a wall, kill yourself and your partner beside you. This would also mean that if you had a baby crying in the rear seat you couldnít drive properly, or if you had one hand on a big fat juicy sandwich, chewing it and another hand on the steering wheel. It would also be the same if you were reaching for that cup of coffee and drinking it on the highway. It would also mean that if youíre listening to the radio you might drive into a wall as thatís multitasking too. Itís the same thing as youíre almost always doing two things in a car at any one time.

But in all honesty, the times that a person talking on the phone decides to come up with a formula that is relevant in the studies of quantum physics is usually zero. Unless itís the two scientists who did this test in the first place. The only thing interesting that comes up on a telephone conversation is gossip, bad gossip, and juicy gossip, the wife reminding the husband to pick up the laundry or a secretary calling her boss on the next appointment or the time of their next illicit rendezvous. I think itís more dangerous to have a kinky girl or guy sitting right beside the driver (which may really cause an accident) or a noisy little toddler (which you sometimes feel the need to tape their mouths and hands even though in this day and age itíll be considered as child abuse) or even an irritating back seat driver rather than having a conversation on the hands free device with someone.

Now I hope authorities do not take heed to studies like this and ban even hands free phone use in cars as it is actually nonsense. Furthermore, 200 test subjects isn't a wide enough demographic in my opinion. These studies are just made by two psychologists who needed a study to conduct and they thought this would be a good study to conduct so that they can get some kind of grant from the government. I think they should continue this study and now test the results of two babies crying their lungs out in a car for half an hour while the parents are driving or the consequences of eating a foot long sub sandwich while driving in rush hour. These in my opinion are more dangerous activities and the results on these new studies would make the world a better place rather than their initial study above. Now if youíll excuse me I have got an old 1981 Honda Civic that needs resuscitation as the family home needs painting and Iíve got to go move it, someplace.

Hands free, driving and 3 more...

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Written by Rigval
Born in 1972. Married with a kid. Loves B-road drives and have driven cars from the 1950s to date.

  • 1
Xefera Apr 10 2010 01:05 PM
this is as good as saying having a conversation in a moving vehicle can be fatal too?
what about kids not properly strapped in and making a nuisance of themselves?
Rigval Apr 12 2010 08:57 PM
my thoughts exactly. That's why I say the findings were utter nonsense.
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