Picture this, you are driving through town travelling at 60km/h. Your mobile pings because you have received a text. You take your eyes off the road for 2 seconds to see who the message is from. In this time, your car travels 33 metres (1). From here, you make a subconscious decision to open and read the text, meaning your eyes are off the road for another 5 seconds. In those 5 seconds, your car has driven un-guided for 82.5 metres.
Driver distraction is one of the main causes of road crashes (2), as using a mobile phone behind the wheel multiplies your risk of a serious crash by 4 (1). It’s no wonder the latest road toll statistics label mobile phone use to be just as dangerous as drink driving (1). As we discussed in our previous blog, “What to do if you hit an animal while driving”, you need to be prepared for the unexpected when driving. Whether it be an animal or person crossing in front of you or a car suddenly braking, your full attention is required at all times.
A study conducted by the Brain Sciences Institute at Swinburn Melbourne, found cognitively demanding conversation, such as texting, represents a significant risk when driving (3). While you are fixated on your mobile, you are spending less time concentrating on what’s going on around you. In the instance where you do become aware of an oncoming incident, your decision making becomes risky, as your judgement becomes frantic and impulsive (1). The average human reaction time to an event is 1.8 seconds (1), meaning a crash may be inevitable.
With society becoming reliant on this potentially lethal and illegal habit, there are ways to help prevent us from the distraction of mobile phones. More new vehicles are fitted with Bluetooth technology, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, to operate a phone completely hands-free. As your “ultimate copilot”, Apple CarPlay uses features such as Siri functionality to help you set directions, make calls, send text messages and control your music, allowing you to keep your eyes on the road (4). Similarly, Android Auto, or your “perfect driving companion”, helps you stay focused and entertained with the Google Assistant. The Google Assistant can make calls, chat with your favourite apps, read messages and reply (5). All while keeping your hands on the wheel. As convenient and forward-thinking as these sound, isn’t this technology just further encouraging the use of your mobile phones while driving?
According to a study conducted by QUT and CARRS-Q, it is your inattention to the road rather than manual dexterity that is a crucial factor in increasing the risk of a crash whilst using a mobile (2). When you are using Bluetooth to have a phone conversation, it is important to keep conversations short, and to avoid complex or emotional topics. Even the most experienced drivers have difficulty processing two or more pieces of information at the same time. And although you may be the most experienced driver, distractions are dangerous for everyone.
To stay focused on the road ahead, StreetSmarts Queensland recommend setting up a ‘Do Not Disturb’ functionality on your phone and have this activate every time you drive (1). Meaning you will not receive any calls or messages until you arrive at your destination. In the event that someone does text you, they will receive a message saying you are driving. With Do Not Disturb switched on, your Maps and music apps will still work, however, you should get in the habit of setting them up before you start your drive.
If you are interested in upgrading to a car with the latest Bluetooth functionality, talk to our friendly team today. Car Search Brokers are here to help find you a car that suits your needs, lifestyle and budget.
- StreetSmarts. (2019). Mobile phone distraction factsheet. [online] Available at: https://streetsmarts.initiatives.qld.gov.au/driver-distraction/factsheet
- QUT & CARRS-Q. (2017). Mobile phone use & distraction. [online] Available at: https://research.qut.edu.au/carrsq/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/2017/12/Mobile-phone-distraction-email.pdf [Accessed 15 Oct. 2019].
- BRAIN SCIENCES INSTITUTE. FACULTY OF LIFE AND SOCIAL SCIENCES, SWINBURNE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA. (2012). A comparison of the effect of mobile phone use and alcohol consumption on driving simulation performance. – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23137086
- Apple (Australia). (2019). iOS – CarPlay. [online] Available at: https://www.apple.com/au/ios/carplay/
- Android. (2019). Android Auto. [online] Available at: https://www.android.com/auto/