Fatal Distractions - 5 major cellphone motoring safety issues that could cost your life

<i>Image: iStock</i>
<i>Image: iStock</i>

Safe driving demands concentration but Head of Automotive for Gumtree South Africa, Jeff Osborne, says technology is only increasing the number of ways drivers can lose focus on the road ahead.

The traditional, long-standing causes of driver distraction remain prevalent - children arguing or searching for something or disagreeing with your spouse - but Osborne reckons cellphones have added massively to the problem.

The five major cellphone motoring safety issues:

Texting is the absolute worst as it usually means both hands are off the wheel and the eyes are down as well.

READ: Texting, slow driving: 10 most annoying, dangerous driving habits

Under no circumstances should you text while driving. Pull over if you really have to text, or use a hands-free kit to send a voice note.

1 Calls, even with a hands-free kit, are a concern because concentration is often on the conversation and not on the road.

2 Without a hands-free kit, calls are obviously a disaster waiting to happen. One hand on the wheel is not enough, especially when navigating busy intersections or challenging stretches of road.

3 Social sharing is not much better. You really can wait before checking out the video someone has sent you but it’s truly alarming how many people believe they can watch video content and drive safely at the same time.

4 Maps can be a problem as well. Because the technology is doing the navigation work, many drivers lose concentration on where they’re going and pay far less attention to what is happening around them. And some will blindly follow the voice directions even when a road is closed or has recently become a one-way.

5 Music can cause discord. As many people now have their music (or their podcasts) stored on their phone and have a vast, almost infinite, array of choices, too much time can be spent focused on scrolling or searching or changing tracks.

Some in-car entertainment systems have steering wheel controls but few drivers are changing their phone-sourced music in this safe way.

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