New Reason to Take Oprah’s No Phone Zone Pledge

By now, most of us have seen the data that shows using a cell phone while driving is about as dangerous as driving drunk. We’re slower to hit the brakes and more likely to crash—whether we’re holding the phone or talking hands-free. It’s mainly the conversation that impairs our attention and distracts us from the road.
But what about the conversation itself? Does it suffer when our attention is divided and our reactions delayed? Paul Rosenblatt, a professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota, and grad student Xiaohui Li think so. They say we take relationship risks when we talk to someone on the phone while driving. As they write in a new paper:

A driver talking on a cell phone might not hear some things, might misspeak, might misunderstand, and might cut the conversation short of what it should be for optimal communication and comfortable relationship. In general, cell phone usage while driving might lead to missed relationship stop lights, slow reactions to dangerous relationship circumstances, loss of control of one’s part of the interaction, and interaction mistakes that could lead to conflict, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and possibly even serious damage to the relationship.

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