Why you should turn your phone off right now if you want to do something properly

A missed call or text notification is as distracting as actually using your smartphone to make a call or send a message, a study has suggested.

Scientists in the US found that simply being aware of having to return a call or text someone back led study volunteers to become less effective at carrying out simulated tasks.

Research coordinator Courtney Yehnert of Florida State University said the findings, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, were "shocking".

It is of course illegal to use a smartphone while driving, but the study suggests that drivers should completely turn their phones off, or at least turn off notifications, until they get out of the car.

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