Nearly 50 per cent of drivers ignore safety and believe that paying attention to a ringing phone while driving may not be as risky as talking, texting or browsing, researchers say.
The findings showed that locating a ringing phone, checking who is calling, and rejecting or answering the call, seems to be easier for drivers and they perceive it to have only a mid-range crash risk.
However, according to research, this task is one of the most risky activities a driver can engage in.
“This is because drivers are likely to adapt their driving behaviour when talking, texting and browsing, by reducing their speed, increasing their distance from the vehicle in front and scanning their environment more frequently,” said Oscar Oviedo-Trespalacios, lead researcher from the Queensland University of Technology.
“On the other hand, a ringing mobile phone can occur at any time without giving time for the driver to adapt their behaviour and therefore increases the likelihood of a crash,” Oviedo-Trespalacios added.
In the study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, the team examined 484 Queensland drivers.
They found that 45 per cent admitted to locating and answering a ringing phone, compared to 28 per cent who reported speaking on a handheld device.
More drivers reported looking at a screen for more than two seconds or locating and answering a ringing phone, than they did talking on a handheld phone, texting or browsing.