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Broken message – broken heart. Mobile phones and driving are incompatible

2023 02 14

Travel safety depends on many factors, one of the most important of which is the driver’s reaction to the situation on the road, which is why when driving a car, one must focus on the road and avoid other activities. To avoid being distracted by phone calls, the Lithuanian Road Administration recommends that drivers turn off the phone and put the phone away from them before starting their journey, and that they set their route in the navigation system while they are stationary. The driver’s main job is to drive the car safely and, therefore, the drivers must take all necessary measures to ensure that they and the passengers they are transporting reach their destination safely.

Talking on the phone, internet surfing or texting while driving reduces concentration and slows down the driver’s reaction time. Delayed reaction is one of the most common causes of road accidents.

Driving at a speed of just 40 km/h, with attention distractions, when an unexpected obstacle appears on the road, the driver moves another 11 metres before reacting. Sometimes those 11 metres can be fatal. One second is the average reaction time of a driver who sees a sudden obstacle on the road and applies the brake after only one second. This is the standard reaction time for drivers. However, if the driver’s attention was focused on distracting things, the reaction time is not one second, but several seconds, which can lead to an accident.

Drivers engaged in distracting activities fail to see all dangers or spot them too late, tend to change more frequently the distance to the car moving in front of them, start driving slower, if they need to brake quickly their reactions are slower, stopping distances are longer, they miss road signs, they change traffic lanes violating traffic rules, forget to use their turn signals, and make other strange decisions.

If there is a possibility in the car, the best option would be to use hands-free equipment. However, it is important to note that conversations also distract drivers, so while driving it would be best to concentrate on the most important thing – driving.

It is important to note that according to Article 13(13) of the Law on Road Safety “when a vehicle is used in public traffic (unless the vehicle is stationary), drivers shall be prohibited from using hand-held mobile communication devices, except for the use of hands-free mobile communication devices, when the mobile communication device is mounted in a special holder, or when the equipment of the vehicle is used”.