According to recent research conducted by telematics firm Wunelli, using a handheld phone while driving nearly doubles a motorist’s risk of being in an accident. Even using a hands-free phone increases the probability of being in an accident—by as much as 20 per cent.
The research is clear—no matter whether drivers use a handheld or hands-free mobile, their accident risk is increased due to inattentiveness. While on the phone, a driver may go into ‘autopilot’ and not focus on the potential risks. This is reflected in Wunelli’s research, which shows that using a phone while driving increases hard braking (a hard and sudden stop) by 75 per cent. Besides reducing the amount of time that you have to avoid potential risks—such as an animal sprinting in front of the vehicle or rubbish blowing into the road—hard braking is rough on your brakes, and shortens their lifespan and overall quality.
To ensure that you remain safe while behind the wheel, make the conscious decision to not use your phone—even if it is hands-free. Instead, wait until you have arrived at your destination to make or return any phone calls. However, if there is an absolute emergency where you do have to make a call or answer the phone, pull onto the shoulder first.
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