Almost all drivers will admit that handling mobile phones or tablets while driving is unsafe behavior. Some people still think that their skills allow them to serve as the exception to the rule and will continue to text or post to social media while in control of a motor vehicle.
There are plenty of other drivers who would never handle their phones at the wheel but who might end up distracted by other screens. Despite a false sense of security because of how they use these devices or the location of these screens, the truth is that the two screens listed below can be as distracting as mobile phones are.
1. Built-in screens and infotainment systems
Vehicles now often have screens in the front of the cabin that communicate with the driver, as well as entertainment screens in the backseat for passengers. Providing entertainment for passengers can lead to distraction if there are issues with the system while on the road. Drivers may also start listening to the audio from the entertainment system, which could turn into a distraction.
Additionally, the built-in screens in the console of a vehicle can be a major distraction, as drivers may look at them instead of at the road and may also take a hand off the wheel to interact with the screen. Older adults may be particularly susceptible to such distractions.
2. GPS devices
A surprising number of drivers think that it isn’t technically a distraction to look at a dashboard-mounted cell phone when navigating using software. However, while GPS systems may mean someone doesn’t have to handle a physical map, they still take someone’s eyes off the road and their mind off of road conditions.
Additionally, depending on the software someone uses, last-minute turn warnings and other glitches in the system may lead to a driver engaging in unsafe behavior, like making a U-turn or turning without using a signal.
Any person or device that gets a driver to take their eyes off of the road in front of them or their hands off of the wheel is a distraction. Built-in screens and GPS devices are dangerous because they take someone’s focus off of their surroundings and their safety. Identifying and avoiding factors that increase someone’s risk of a motor vehicle collision can help individuals stay a little bit safer on the road.