Great Hangup: Keeping your cool behind the wheel

    1:50 AM, Jun 18, 2011   |    comments
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    UNDATED (KTHV) -- Here at Today's THV, we are dedicated to helping keep your family safe.

    One important aspect of that -- staying safe behind the wheel. It's not just your phone -- but the nature of the conversation you are having that can put you in danger when you're driving.

    Keeping the temperature cool while driving is important. But keeping a cool temperament is more important. When conversation turns into consternation experts know it's smart to hang up.

    Dr. Terry Richard, a sociology professor at UALR says disagreements during driving could be deadly.
    Richard says emotionally charged conversations can change physical and psychological dynamics of being able to have a good, broad perspective.

    And drivers need that perspective on the road.

    "And when we've studied individuals that have been in a non-moving vehicles versus moving vehicles and they're talking on a cell phone and then we ask them later on to recount what the conversation was about, the individuals that were driving can barely remember anything they were talking about in the conversatoin where if they were stationary and not driving they could recall," says Richard.

    Their ability to even, talk in a more coherent manner began to change and their heartbeat began to change so there were physical reactions as well as psychological reactions
    Texting, sightseeing, singing - all distractions to driving.

    "A lot of times when we've had serious accidents, it's because people were listening to the music or the lyrics"

    Or it's the lyrics of a heated conversation that distracts you. Whether it be spontaneous, or planned, your speed limit is important, but so is your subject matter.

    "When you are dealing with an emotional issue, that's when--for many individuals--they start not paying attention to the broad picture around them and they start getting tunnel vision because they're really thinking about other things. They can be angry or whatever."

    Ideally it's best to stay away from anger, but if you are angry, stay away from the wheel.

    For more on the Great Hangup, visit our special section on todaysthv.com. There, you can take the pledge against distracted driving.

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