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Texting and driving

Slowing down to make driving and texting safer may actually put you in more danger

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Slowing down to make driving and texting safer may actually put you in more danger

WATCH | If you think slowing down so you can text and drive is a good idea, this study wants you to think again.

We all know the risks of texting and driving, but a new study claims driving slower while fiddling with your device in a bid to increase safety can actually make the whole act more dangerous.


"How could this be?" you may ask. Distracted drivers who slow down to reduce their chances of getting in an accident can actually trigger surrounding drivers into “aggressive overtaking maneuvers,” a group of Queensland University of Technology researchers in Australia found.

Erratic dips in speed also lead to an increased risk of nose-to-tail crashes and overall congestion to the transportation system, according to the study, which was conducted with driving simulators and saw some distracted participants slow by two to three miles per hour.

Distracted Driving
(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Since trying to drive more carefully while texting doesn't seem to be a solution, Oscar Oviedo-Trespalacios and his research team at QUT believe drivers should examine whether sacrificing safety for a text conversation is worthwhile.

"Oh, so using your phone hands-free must be the only way to really text and drive risk-free," you may say.

Good assumption, but that doesn't appear to be true, either.

The slew of new hands-free, in-car systems that let you speak to your phone and will read messages aloud to you still shift drivers' attention from the road, according to a 2015 study led by AAA and a group of University of Utah professors.

Connected Car Audio
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Apple's CarPlay system brings Siri to your car but, according to research, also doesn't make messaging and driving risk-free.

Of course, with autonomous cars right around the corner, maybe we should stop looking for solutions to the distracted driving problem and just put down the phone for the few remaining years that we’ll be in the driver’s seat.

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