The Dangerous Habit Couples Need to Stop Doing in Cars

woman driving carWhat's one of the most ill-conceived things you can do in a car with your partner? Nope, it's not sex. 


Sure, doing the nasty while you're driving on the highway is a super bad idea. But the biggest mistake we're all making while en route is trying to have a meaningful, soul-searching conversation.

We're extrapolating that bon mot courtesy of new research out of Sweden's Linköping University.

See, your brain likes to do ONE thing at once. Not three. Not twelve. ONE. And researchers found that when it's focused on a particular task that relies heavily on your sight -- like driving a car -- it automatically filters out all extraneous information to ensure that task is done well.

We're pretty sure "extraneous information" includes your saying, "Can we talk?" Or "I've been meaning to tell you..."

Your partner isn't faking when they respond with "Huh?" And they're not intentionally ignoring you. The response time of the nerves in their auditory cortex have honestly taken a dive.

In other words, none of us hear so good when we're behind the wheel.

And the study's researchers found that the MORE we need to concentrate on the road, the FURTHER impaired our hearing becomes.

Mystery solved why you never manage to have a meaningful convo on a road trip with your SO. And why you catch yourself shushing your kids and shrieking, "I can't hear myself think!" when you're trying to merge into rush hour traffic.

You really can't.

More from CafeMom: 4 Communication Pitfalls in Relationships and How to Fix Them

But if you're not going to have a heartfelt conversation in the front seat, when is the best time to broach a serious topic?

"This study shows that we're best able to comprehend conversations when we're focused," points out Paul Hokemeyer, PhD, JD, a licensed marriage and family therapist in New York City.

"So if you want to share important information with your partner, you'll need to minimize the distractions around you. You'll also want to make sure your conversation occurs in a safe and calm space."

The time and place Hokemeyer recommends?
"In the morning, before you turn on your smartphones, attend to your kids, or start into your day," he says.
And if you can swing it, while you two are still in bed together.
"The morning and the bed are two of the quietest and intimately shared places that exist," Hokemeyer explains. "They represent the bond of your relationship and the intimacy inherent in it."
Much more than the turnpike, we hope.
Image via Pushish Images/Shutterstock
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