Everyone should realize that the rise of smartphones and other handheld mobile devices has increased  across the United States. Because of the risks of texting, emailing, browsing social media, or searching the Internet while driving, Illinois and Wisconsin are among the many states that have banned text-based messaging  for all drivers. In addition, Illinois has made it unlawful to use any type of handheld device or smartphone while behind the wheel. Another device, however, may allow drivers to get around the handheld texting laws and still be able to use their smartphones. The smartwatch is becoming more popular and the various versions of this wristwatch connect to a phone via Bluetooth technology. The smartwatch then can do the following:
- Notify you of texts or emails and allow you to read them;
- Send you reminders or calendar notifications;
- Notify you of an incoming call and allow you to either answer it or decline it;
- Play music;
- Give directions via GPS.
While a driver’s smartphone may be set aside in a purse or pocket in compliance with the law, their smartwatch can keep them apprised of any notifications or messages that come into their phones. In theory, some people may believe these watches are safer than handheld phones while driving, however, in reality, smartwatches can cause significant and dangerous distractions.
Causing all three kinds of distraction
Texting is considered to be especially dangerous because it causes all three types of distraction—manual, cognitive, and visual. Smartwatches also cause all three of these in the following ways:
- Visual – Users must look at the watch to read notifications and reminders;
- Manual – Users must use their other hand to touch the watch screen to refuse calls, play music, or control other functions;
- Cognitive – Even hearing a notification can cause a driver to lose focus on the road.
- For these reasons, smartwatches are dangerous on the road and can lead to collisions.
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