Cellphone Use in Car May Harm Relationship

MINNEAPOLIS, June 16 (UPI) — Longer reaction times and divided attention by using a cellphone while driving can kill both you and your relationships as well, a U.S. researcher says.

Paul Rosenblatt, a professor at the University of Minnesota, and graduate student Xiaohui Li say studies indicate cellphone use while driving leads to slower reaction times on the road. He says the same delay while talking can hurt personal relationships.

“A delay in the conversation could be a problem if the person — spouse or partner — on the other end of the conversation interprets the delayed reaction as an indicator of ambivalence, of not having a ready answer or of hiding something. This all leads to upsetting the partner,” Rosenblatt says in a statement.

“In general, cell phone usage while driving might lead to missed relationship stop lights, slow reactions to dangerous relationship circumstances, loss of control of one’s part of the interaction and interaction mistakes that could lead to conflict, hurt feelings, misunderstandings and possibly even serious damage to the relationship.”

Meanwhile, a significant other who is not driving might be worried about the driver’s safety and cut a conversation short, but the driver might interpret that in a negative way, Rosenblatt says.

The findings are published in the journal Family Science Review.

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