A new study has found that using a mobile phone on hands-free while you’re driving is just as distracting as talking with a hand-held phone.
The research was undertaken by a team of psychologists at the University of Sussex in the UK and shows that drivers who are engaged in conversations that spark their visual imagination are much less able to spot and react to potential hazards.
When the drivers involved in the study were asked about a subject that required them to visualise it, they focussed on a smaller area of the road ahead of them and failed to see hazards, even when they looked directly at them.
The researchers claim their evidence shows conversations may use more of the brain’s visual processing resources than previously understood.
Having a conversation which requires a driver to use their visual imagination creates competition for the brain’s processing capacity that is also focussing on driving.
This results in drivers missing road hazards that they might otherwise have spotted.
Something to think about next time you make or take a call on the go.