As lawmakers move to ban the use of handheld devices while driving, new products have been created that effectively allows the full, hands-free use of cell phones while driving. One of the most affordable of these options is the phone mount, a simple device that attaches to your dashboard or air vent and allows you to see your phone while driving.
Although these can be great for navigation, the truth is that phone mounts increase the risk of distracted driving and may even lead to a serious crash.
A Hidden Distraction
There are three kinds of distracted driving: Visual, manual, and cognitive. When you have your cellphone on a mount, it is approximately at eye level. That means you are much more likely to engage in the visual distraction of looking at your phone whenever a new notification pops up.
Not only that, but each notification becomes a cognitive distraction because you’re expending mental focus to read and understand the incoming text. While phone notifications are always a driving distraction, phone mounts prevent you from ignoring them. Your eye has a tendency to wander toward the bright flash of a screen and the mount itself prevents you from looking away.
Not only is your phone extremely difficult to ignore when it’s on a mount, but you are much more likely to use your phone when it is within reach. When your phone is close to your steering wheel, you’re more likely to tap around and adjust the music or volume, which is a manual distraction. It is an illusion of safety because you believe you can just put your hand back on the steering wheel, not realizing there are also visual and cognitive elements.
Even if you use your phone’s computer assistant to respond to texts and choose music, those are still powerful cognitive distractions no safer than manual texting. Combined, this makes the “triple threat” distraction of cell phones even worse because it is almost impossible to ignore.
While phone mounts are convenient for navigation and delivery apps, most drivers are better off putting their devices out of reach and in do not disturb mode while driving. This effectively eliminates the temptation of looking at your phone and will help keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the steering wheel, and your mind focused on driving.
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