If you were to ask the average person about driving safely, most people will readily admit that using mobile devices, like phones, while driving is inherently dangerous. However, those same people may believe that they alone have the necessary skill to drive safely or that there are certain workarounds that can keep them safe while driving and using screens.

One of the best ways to keep yourself safe from potentially dangerous and distracted drivers who could cause major crashes is to understand the way they think and what kind of behavior they feel is acceptable on public roads.

People don’t see the risk in manufacturer-installed screens and GPS devices

In a recent survey regarding attitudes about texting and driving, researchers found that most people have inaccurate beliefs about texting at the wheel. For example, nearly half of all people think that there is a federal ban on texting while driving in a passenger vehicle, which isn’t true. The only federal ban on texting is a rule against commercial drivers manually using phones while in control of a commercial vehicle.

Not knowing the law is far from the worst issue that this survey uncovered. Specifically, quite a few people believe that it is acceptable or safe to frequently interact with certain kinds of screens while driving. Late-model vehicles often have touch-screen systems installed in the dashboard by the manufacturer. People think that these screens are completely safe to use, even though they require taking your focus and eyes off the road, to say nothing of taking your hand off the wheel.

Additionally, quite a few people believe that interacting with a GPS system or app is, for some reason, safe while driving. Over half of the people surveyed, 53.5%, thought that GPS screens were safer than other screens in their vehicles.

In truth, any screen poses risk while you drive a vehicle. Screens take your eyes and mind off the road and require you to take a hand off the wheel to interact with them. Whether someone on the road has their phone in their lap or is staring over at their dashboard while trying to program their GPS device, they are paying more attention to the screen than they are to the job of driving safely.