Are Hands-Free Devices Really Safe to Use While You Are Driving?

You need to keep your mind free while driving, not just your hands

Studies have been conducted by many universities and organizations regarding just how safe hands-free devices really are. A hands-free device is one that is designed to work without being held, preferably one that responds to your voice to operate. These devices can make and answer phone calls, get directions or even access Facebook. 

Where Dangers Really Occur

While keeping your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road is critical, there is more involved in safe driving. You need to be paying attention to the road. You must concentrate on your driving, vehicles around you and sudden changes that can cause accidents.

Just having a conversation with a passenger in your vehicle can distract you. Now consider the additional distraction if you are arguing with someone. Having a conversation with someone who is not in your vehicle is not any different. Your mind can only focus on one thing at a time.

According to Barry Kantowitz from the University of Michigan, "Hands-free phones have been recommended, especially by companies that sell phones, because it seems that talking on them is OK because drivers need not take their eyes off the road...Thinking about a conversation requires mental capacity needed for safe driving."

Before you use a hands-free device, ask yourself these questions:

Is it really hands-free?
Do I have to look at the screen constantly?
Can I concentrate or is the device distracting?

If you constantly have to fiddle with controls on your device, it is not truly hands-free. If you have to look away from the road to read a text screen, you could miss a car pulling out in front of you. Even mapping devices located on the dash near your steering wheel require you to take your eyes off the road. Finally, GPS devices that provide audible directions can startle you with sudden alerts like, "Turn left now."

Drive Hands-Free and Mind-Free

Your best option is not to use any type of cell phone while driving. If a call is critical, pull off the road to have the conversation. Your safety, your family's and that of other drivers is more important than any call. Plan a road map before you travel. If you become lost, pull over to figure out where you are.

You can learn more safe driving tips at our Knowledge Center. One of Infinity's priorities is to help you stay safe on the road and understand the dangers you face. Learning safe driving skills will also help you keep your auto insurance premium low.