Drive Smart: How Smartwatches Cause Distractions While Driving

Technology makes it easier to enjoy media, connect with other people, and track appointments and your health. Smartwatches are one of the smallest devices on the market that can enrich your life and make it easier. But they can also create distractions while you’re driving. All of those notifications and reminders use sounds to alert you, but you need to be aware of the dangers that those distractions can create while you’re driving.

Hands Off the Wheel

When you get a notification, one of the biggest temptations is to take your hand off the wheel to turn off the alarm or see what your watch is alerting you of more clearly. You need both hands to operate most smartwatches. Your right-hand presses the buttons while the left-hand raises to operate the watch and see. The sound might be reminding you to do something really important, such as taking a medication, but when you’re driving, you want to keep your hands firmly on the steering wheel at all times so that you can react as quickly as possible.

Distracting Notifications

Notifications can also be distracting because your phone lights up every time that you get one. Many people find it difficult to tune out the extra stimulation, especially when they’re driving at night. It’s also distracting because you’ll be wondering what each notification is telling you. Many teens feel the need for connection to technology at all times, but adults can fall victim to these temptations, too. You might wonder if an email notification is something that you need to respond to immediately, or you might be curious if you have a reminder alert that you set but can’t remember what it’s for.

Eyes Off the Road

Because of the smaller screen, when you look at your smartwatch, you need to look at it even longer than you might need to look at your smartphone. This requires you to take your eyes off the road for even longer periods of time. When you’re driving, you need to keep your eyes on the road at all times so that you can quickly react to another driver pulling out in front of you or an animal crossing the road. In fact, you travel farther than you might think when you take your eyes away from the road for even a couple of seconds.

Smartwatches can create a lot of distractions and put you in positions in which you can’t be the best driver possible. The simplest way to get rid of distractions is to take your smartwatch off while you’re driving and put it in the glovebox or a compartment in the center console until you reach your destination.

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