Rural drivers using cell phones while driving are nearlyfour times more likely to cause automobile accidents thanrural drivers not using cell phones. Especially if you livein the country, you should hang up and concentrate on theroad. This is a puzzling statistic, because there is muchless traffic on country roads than there in big cities.

Researchers tested 36 drivers aged 18 to 63 in a simulatedvehicle and asked them to punch in specific phone numberswhile their simulator screens presented them with unexpectedobstacles, such as wildlife, farm vehicles or pedestrians onthe road. Recent studies have shown that the brain is notcapable of multi-tasking. When we do more than one thingsimultaneously, the brain actually jumps from one task toanother. This happens so quickly, it seems as if we?re doingtwo things at once, but since we actually stop payingattention to the road, for instance, when we listen to avoice on the phone, we don’t actually “see” the road infront of us. Our attention may switch for only a fewseconds at a time, but that’s long enough to have an accident.

Researcher Laura Stanley says, “It is preferable thatdrivers don’t use cell phones while driving, whether onurban or rural roads, because most research shows a higherrisk of being involved in an accident. It’s a driverdistraction.” She compares the level of distraction whiletalking on a cell phone to driving while intoxicated andsays, “One study showed that driving while using a cellphone is like being at .08 blood-alcohol content limit,which is the legal limit in Montana.”

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