Beware: Cell Phone Alerts Cause Drivers’ Minds to Wander When Driving
Have you ever been driving and couldn’t remember how you ended up in another lane? Or maybe you reached your destination and couldn’t remember the details of the drive. Although frightening, this is a common occurrence because minds wander, multitasking occurs, and cell phones are used behind the wheel.
It is very normal for drivers nowadays to be distracted when they drive. The most common form of distracted driving is talking and texting on cell phones behind the wheel, which has led to many serious and fatal traffic accidents. However, a new study conducted by Florida State University shows that even hearing cell phone notifications while driving can be distracting and can impair driving.
The study discovered that when a cell phone sends out an alert, it can be just as distracting as texting while driving or talking on a cell phone while driving. This is because minds start wandering when people hear noises from their cell phones. While it is normal to want to know who is posting, retweeting, or texting, it can also be downright dangerous.
Even if drivers aren’t planning to talk or text while driving, they may be tempted to look at their phones when they hear cell phone notifications and rings—allowing their minds to start wandering away from the task at hand (i.e., driving). When people allow their minds to wander and they lose focus on the road, it increases their chances of crashing. For this reason, researchers want drivers to know that it is best to mute their phones and put them out of sight while driving. This way, people have a better chance of reaching their destinations safely.
Unfortunately, most people don’t think there is any harm in simply hearing notifications and don’t mute their phones. We encourage you to start engaging in this practice while driving and to share this information with those you know on Facebook so you can remind drivers that no text or call is worth their lives or the lives of those sharing the road with them.