Talking To Your Car Is As Distracting As You’d Think

I recently leased a new car that talks to me all day. “Don’t switch lanes, a car’s coming!” “It’s safe to back up; oh, no, it’s not!” “YOU’RE LOW ON GAS!!!” And I talk to the car, too: “Call Mom.” “Find the nearest sushi restaurant.” “Give me directions to Reagan National Airport.”

You’d think all this back and forth would be distracting. And you’d be right, according to two new University of Utah studies showing that drivers are still distracted for 27 seconds after issuing commands through In-Vehicle Information Systems (IVIS). Here’s a visual: After Siri directs you to the nearest Burger King, you’re not fully paying attention to the road for the length of three football fields, if you’re driving at 25 mph.

David Strayer, a University of Utah psychology professor and senior author of the studies, told, “Just because these systems are in the car doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to use them while you are driving. They are very distracting, very error prone and very frustrating to use. Far too many people are dying because of distraction on the roadway, and putting another source of distraction at the fingertips of drivers is not a good idea. It’s better not to use them when you are driving.”

The studies, conducted for the AAA Foundation of Traffic Safety, used 10, foreign and domestic vehicles with IVIS. All models required a moderate to high mental workout to operate, with older drivers working harder to use IVIS than younger drivers. Further, practice doesn’t seem to make the operation much easier.

“Most people think, ‘I hang up and I’m good to go,’” Strayer reportedly said. “But that’s just not the case. We see it takes a surprisingly long time to come back to full attention. Even sending a short text message can cause almost another 30 seconds of impaired attention.”

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jim Ven
Jim V3 years ago

thanks for the article.

Erika Acosta
Erika Acosta3 years ago


Kathryn Irby
Past Member 3 years ago

If I ever start talking to my car, I hope someone will cart me to the nearest nut house!! Thanks

Anon E.
Cela V3 years ago

tyfs... then why are all those systems & devices added to the car if they cause such distractions?

Franck R.
Past Member 3 years ago

Thanks for sharing

ERIKA SOMLAI3 years ago


Kathryn Irby
Past Member 3 years ago

The day I start talking y car, the sooner I should be locked up-in a nut house, not jail! Thanks!

Jan N.
Jan N3 years ago

My previous cars never talked to me, but I occasionally had something to say to them that wasn’t very nice. And name-calling, I did that too.

My current car is just a couple years old, so it hasn’t developed any issues I need to “discuss” with it. It doesn’t talk to me either.

John B.
John B3 years ago

Thanks Lisa for sharing the info and links. Technology is not always that helpful.