Talking While Making Left Turns Is Distracting, Study Finds

A new brain imaging study makes a pretty compelling case for not talking on the phone while driving — even if you’re using a hands-free headset.

Researchers from St. Michael’s Hospital found that if a driver talks on the phone while making a left turn, even when it’s on a hands-free device, there is decreased activation in the brain region responsible for vision control, and increased activation in the brain region responsible for decision-making.

In other words, left-hand turns require a lot of attention from your brain, and talking on the phone — even if you’re trying to be responsible by going hands-free — is a major distraction.

The findings are published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

For the study, researchers had healthy volunteers operate a driving simulator that included a real working steering wheel and pedals, while in an MRI. That way, they were able to see which parts of their brains were activated in response to certain tasks.  Read more here.