Physics Forums

Physics Forums (http://www.physicsforums.com/index.php)
-   Social Sciences (http://www.physicsforums.com/forumdisplay.php?f=85)
-   -   Cell Phones vs Chatty Passengers in Driving (http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=276290)

Moonbear Dec1-08 05:24 PM

Cell Phones vs Chatty Passengers in Driving
 
While I'm not at all surprised by the results of the study reported in this article with regard to how badly distracted drivers are while on the cell phone, even hands-free, I am a bit surprised it was so much different from having a chatty passenger in the car. I would have thought a passenger would also be a major distraction similar to a cell phone conversation. But, there seems to be a reasonable explanation too.

Quote:

"Cell phone and passenger conversation differ in their impact on a driver's performance," stated the paper released by the researchers. "These differences are apparent at the operational, tactical, and strategic levels of performance." The study was published in the Journal Of Experimental Psychology.
Quote:

So, why did drivers with talkative passengers appear to be safer?

One reason suggested by the researchers was that chatting passengers may actually support drivers by talking about surrounding traffic in a way that helps driver awareness.
http://www.informationweek.com/news/...leID=212201254

mgb_phys Dec1-08 05:46 PM

Re: Cell Phones vs Chatty Passengers in Driving
 
There was something similair when (hand held) cell phones were banned while driving in the UK. People challenged it on the basis that cell phones are no worse than a passenger or radio.
I think the conclusion was that in talking to someone who is not there you use up more visual processing bandwidth picturing them. While people in the car with you pick up queues about how busy/task-loaded you are and stop talking when you have to concentrate - even non-drivers do this by picking up on your body language.

The ironic part was that it seems hands-free phones are worse than holding a cell phone. Speaking into thin air to someone who isn't there takes even more processing power than talking into a phone.

Moonbear Dec1-08 06:17 PM

Re: Cell Phones vs Chatty Passengers in Driving
 
I had been pretty certain on an intuitive level that hands-free use of cell phones was no better than holding the headset, because I never thought the problem had anything to do with holding the phone in one's hand. Now there's a study to back that up.

But, yes, after reading the explanation, it makes sense that a passenger will be more able to know when to stop talking. Or, for that matter, if the driver's attention drifts, and theirs is still on the road, they can shout out, "Look out!" :biggrin: Someone on the phone is oblivious when to pause and let the driver pay attention.

I wonder if it may also have to do with how one is communicating. If you're talking on the phone, all communication has to be verbal. Perhaps there are times when verbal communication is too much of a distraction, but one can still be nodding or making other non-verbal gestures that don't interfere with driving and don't take away so much from one's attention to the road.

waht Dec1-08 08:33 PM

Re: Cell Phones vs Chatty Passengers in Driving
 
A good portion of communication exchanged between humans is non-verbal. So maybe there is something you have to make up for over the phone.

stewartcs Dec7-08 03:13 PM

Re: Cell Phones vs Chatty Passengers in Driving
 
Quote:

Quote by Moonbear (Post 1983246)
But, yes, after reading the explanation, it makes sense that a passenger will be more able to know when to stop talking. Or, for that matter, if the driver's attention drifts, and theirs is still on the road, they can shout out, "Look out!" :biggrin: Someone on the phone is oblivious when to pause and let the driver pay attention.

I heard a similar study that concluded the same thing. Essentially a passenger in the car is also aware of the surrounding condtions and will know when to stop talking if conditions require it, whereas a person on the phone will not.

CS


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:20 AM.

Powered by vBulletin Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 2014 Physics Forums