For every text, emoji and selfie that you do while driving, your awareness while driving is compromised, placing you and those around you in danger. A 2009 study by the Pennsylvania University says glancing at your phone for 3-seconds while driving is equivalent to driving through two basketball courts with your eyes closed. That is a long distance to be not looking at the road.
Research also shows that for majority of drivers, their brain has difficulty processing two tasks simultaneously. It can switch between the tasks, yes, but it will perform each more slowly. Many people think they can do two things at once — like talking or texting on the phone while driving — but it’s just not possible to concentrate fully on both.
Drivers stop monitoring their environment. And new drivers in particular aren’t in the habit of scanning the road for hazards — with a phone in hand, it’s an even more dangerous combination.
“In my experience of training hundreds of drivers, I’d say that even normal, everyday driving uses around 85 percent of your mental load. Sending one text or selfie and even talking with a passenger, can overload the brain while driving — increasing the risk of an accident,” says Matt Gerlach, one of America’s most advanced driving instructors spending the past 10 years training engineers to become expert drivers in Australia.
“When you’re using 85 percent of your brainpower to drive, your mind isn’t capable of doing much else,” adds Gerlach. “Regardless of whether you’re a professional or new to the road — you will be a safer driver if you understand how much of your brain you’re using just to drive the car.”