Driving distractions can run the gamut from manipulating the menu of an electronic device to eating dinner on the way home from work after a grueling double shift. Unfortunately, any activity that pulls your eyes from the road, hands from the steering wheel or focus from driving – even for a moment – can lead to serious accidents with severe consequences.

One of the most common things to do while driving is having a conversation. This can be over a cell phone or in person with other vehicle occupants. Conversations, however, can certainly cause a driver to lose focus on the road. In some situations, the driver might even turn to look at a vehicle occupant or give them a playful nudge or fist bump during the conversation. The actions might differ on a cell phone call, but drivers can look at the phone screen when dialing or checking the volume, or remove a hand from the steering wheel to adjust certain settings.

Perhaps it’s not too surprising that a driver’s level of experience can also influence their ability to remain in safe operation of a vehicle during a conversation.

  • Inexperienced drivers: For younger drivers, when they have a friend in the car, they are statistically more likely to crash the vehicle. Their chances of an accident increase with each additional friend who is riding in the vehicle.
  • Experienced drivers: For drivers with more experience behind the wheel, having other adults in the car reduces the likelihood of a collision.

The main difference between having a conversation over the phone and a conversation with occupants of the vehicle is that it can place several sets of eyes on the road. A passenger with years of driving experience can help in spotting potential trouble on the road and even reprimand the driver for losing focus.

While avoiding driving distractions should be a goal for everyone, it might be statistically safer for an experienced driver to have an in-person conversation rather than talking on the phone. Distracted driving accidents can lead to life-changing injuries or wrongful death.