According to new research from IAM RoadSmart, using infotainment like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can be more distracting than driving after a pint or a joint.
There’s lots in a car which can distract us from the task in hand, and the rise and rise of touchscreens is supposed to be safer than, for example, twiddling with a tuner knob for the radio or finding and loading a music cassette. But we all know it’s not.
But perhaps what we didn’t know, for sure, is just how distracting playing with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay can be when we’re on the move. So IAM RoadSmart set out to see, and the results are a bit disturbing.
It seems that drivers using a touchscreen to interact on the go are being distracted for up to 16 seconds at a time, which sees reaction time slowing by more than if the driver had had a pint, smoked a joint or is using a hands-free phone. And that’s only if they’re using voice to interact.
If they’re actually prodding the screen, then reaction times are worse than texting and using a hand-held phone too (see chart below).
The research for this came from asking drivers to complete a series of three drives on the same route to assess the impact of using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with the first allowing no interaction, the second only voice and the third touchscreen.
We’d like to think drivers wouldn’t be stupid enough in the real world to interact with touch for 16 seconds at a time, but it does more than suggest that you should only be using voice if you need to change anything on the move.