Life hacks are popular on the internet. People like to share ideas that they think are useful workarounds to problems that others encounter. Texting while driving is illegal in New York, and it causes numerous crashes. People want to avoid causing wrecks and getting tickets.
Some people would quickly suggest one of the two hacks or solutions below that allows someone to comply with the no-texting rules in New York while still remaining connected to family and their employer while driving. One popular solution involves using talk-to-text software, while the other involves people only using their phones when stopped at an intersection.
Unfortunately, research about both of these solutions shows that neither of them is as safe as people might hope.
Distraction doesn’t end when you put your phone back down
Getting stuck at a long red light can feel like a waste of time, so making use of that time to be productive seems like a smart idea. Quickly reading and responding to an email or text message while stopped at a red light seems like a practical solution.
However, researchers have found that the distraction you experience from using a device doesn’t end when you finish typing out the text or reading the message you just received. You will experience roughly 27 seconds of diminished cognitive function or ongoing distraction before you are fully able to focus on the road around you.
Talk-to-text might make you look down more than you think
Using talk-to-text software seems like a great solution. It means that you will still experience internal or cognitive distraction related to the content of the messages, whether your car reads the messages to you over your audio system or you want to dictate a message to your phone.
Additionally, you are at risk of visual distraction, as you will likely feel the need to glance over at the text message to verify the accuracy of the software you used. While it may feel frustrating to need to disconnect for the length of your commute, doing so is the safest option.
Avoiding distractions can help you stay safer on the road and may motivate you to fight back if someone causes a car crash because of irresponsible habits at the wheel.