Study – Cell phone notifications may be a dangerous distraction
We have all heard a lot about distracted driving. But a new study suggests our brain may be distracted from a task by a sound or a vibration, even if we try to ignore it.
The study, conducted by Florida State University, observed people performing computer operations when they suddenly received a call or text from their phone. Researchers found that they performed the task at hand less efficiently, with more mistakes even if they did not respond to the notification.
The study suggests once you get that message alert, you are distracted. They find that even hearing your phone or knowing you have a text can distract you, and that even if you are trying to do the right thing, your mind wanders and you want to know who it was that tried to reach you.
"I think that most drivers would tell you if they are being honest with themselves, that when that phone rings, they are thinking to themselves...what if it was something important," said Cathleen Lewis, director of public affairs and government relations for AAA Northeast, says.
She says AAA has done a number of studies that talk about the cognitive distraction that all of these devices have.
"It is absolutely true that anytime there is something that diverts our attention away from the roadway, it is a distraction and it can become a danger," Lewis said. "It is a little alarming because there are lots of people who think that they are doing the right thing by not answering those calls. So I think that the next step is going to be to really make sure that you are not looking at your phone at all."
Lewis suggests not having the mobile device anywhere near you. Make sure that you are focusing on driving. She says it's harder these days to turn away from phone use in a car because some of us simultaneously use it for navigation or other purposes.