Hands-free devices. We’ve all heard of them. Drivers put them in their ears so they don’t have to hold their phones while talking or texting. But have they really made a difference in the safety of truckers and other motor vehicle operators? A study from the University of Virginia found that hands-free use while driving did not improve reaction times or driving safety. Maybe there’s another way to improve reaction times while driving.
A recent study from the University of Adelaide suggests that using an earmuff-style device whilst driving does, in fact, prevent accidents. Specifically, the study’s authors found that drivers who used headphones or earmuffs were less likely to be in a motor vehicle accident than those who did not.
So, what is causing these seemingly contradictory results? Let’s take a closer look at this research and possible reasons why using a hands-free device may not be the best idea. (more…)
Hearing protection equipment has been around for centuries and was actually designed to protect military personnel from loud noises. The devices were also used during World War II to block out the sound of shells and gunfire so that soldiers could focus on other things. (more…)
Most people are familiar with the various types of earmuffs that are designed to cushion and muffle sound. These types of products are still used today and are widely considered to be among the safest and most effective means of protecting the ears from loud noises. However, not all earmuffs are made equal, and just because they’re effective against noise does not mean that they’re safe or fit for all drivers. (more…)
Many truckers and other motor vehicle operators will tell you that they cannot focus on driving when talking on the phone. This often leads them to using their cellphone whilst driving just to stay awake and avoid accidents. Because of this, many manufacturers have designed products that can help motor vehicle operators stay focused while talking on the phone. (more…)
There are several different brands of earmuff-style devices that can fit over the ear and act as a microphone for the user’s cellphone. When the product is connected to the phone via a wire or wirelessly, it can function as a hands-free device and allow the driver to continue talking whilst following other instructions on their phone. (more…)
Unlike hand-held devices, earmuff-style devices do not require the user to hold it whilst talking. This, in theory, should improve reaction times. Unfortunately, the UVA study found that there was no difference in reaction times when comparing using hand-held devices versus earmuff-style devices. This could be because hand-held devices are still required to be held whilst speaking and are, therefore, still taking attention away from the road ahead. (more…)
The study also found that drivers who used hand-held devices were more than twice as likely to be in a motor vehicle accident as those who did not. This could be because it takes visual attention away from the road ahead, especially when talking on a cell phone whilst driving. (more…)
It should be noted that just because a product exists that can improve performance on a task, it does not mean that it is better or safer to use. It just means that it’s possible.
Many truckers and other motor vehicle operators have dangerous habits that could cause them to be in an accident. For example, texting whilst driving can cause crashes due to distracted driving. When a crash does happen, the last thing that most people want is a lawsuit, especially if they’re not at fault. This is why it’s important to continue to monitor your own driving habits and record the incidents that you experience throughout the day. If you notice that you’re becoming overly distracted by certain things, then it may be time to switch gears and try a new approach. (more…)
Whether you’re a commercial trucker or a professional race car driver, being able to focus whilst driving is crucial for avoiding accidents and maintaining a safe driving record. Thankfully, there are several different strategies that can be used to improve reaction times and concentration whilst driving. One of these includes the use of hands-free devices. However, this is something that you need to carefully consider and put into practice on your own terms. Don’t expect other people to do it for you. You must be the best judge of whether or not this approach is right for you.