Hands-Free Phones are Just as Distracting as Phone-Phones When Driving

By Gary Cutlack on at

A study by clever people at a university has found that hands-free phones are just as distracting to use when driving as the normal types of phones you hold in your actual hand, thanks to the way the brain pauses thinking about driving to answer boring questions about whether beans or peas should accompany tonight's dinner.

The researchers found that people driving a simulator took a little under a second longer to react to on-screen events when being questioned by a speaker positioned a few feet away from them, a delay attributed to the fact that when asked certain questions the brain has to build a sort of 3D mind palace simulation of the world for a bit so our conscious minds can be fully immersed in the question in order to form an appropriate answer.

Dr Graham Hole from the University of Sussex said it's a misconception that we've somehow come to think of hands-free phones as OK to use while hammering a metal box about the place, saying: "...on balance, I think the law should be changed to get the right message across and make it absolutely clear that any use of a mobile phone while driving is hazardous." [BBC]

Image credit: Hands free from Shutterstock

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