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In the vein of this question How to say Tefilas HaDerech while on the road alone -- I am wondering whether it is appropriate to say a prayer or make a brocha while concurrently operating a car. Potential halachic issues include threat to life, and the question of integrity of one's kavana.

(Inspired by seeing a handwashing poster which stated without citation that the Shulchan Aruch prohibits making a blessing while engaged in "work" [sic].)

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    Never ever put your life in danger for any blessing. (Public service announcement) – Double AA Mar 13 '15 at 4:41
  • Doesn't the 1st paragraph of Shema say "Uv'lechtecha baderech"? - while you are walking on the path? And, I think the Gemarah has a debate with an opinion stating that this is to be done literally? – DanF Mar 13 '15 at 15:38
  • @DoubleAA G-d forbid it were a martyrdom situation... judaism.stackexchange.com/a/14485/1516 – SAH Mar 15 '15 at 3:54
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I can't give any definitive halachic answer but I can say that, coincidentally, I have been learning masechet brachot and the issue of tefillat haderech is brought up on 30a. The halacha seems to hold like the opinion that says that one may say the tefilah "afilu mehalech" even while travelling (as opposed to stopping and standing on the side of the road). You might want to check the Tur O"C, 110:4 and the M"B 110:4 §22.The Gemara continues in a discussion of prayer while travelling on a donkey and the halacha (as cited in the Rambam, Hil. Tefillah 5:2) is that one may pray (in the appropriate circumstances) while riding a donkey. I have never tried to steer a donke on a superhighway so I don't know how it compares to driving a car, but I do know that donkeys lack AM/FM radios.

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    Donkeys actually steer better than most drivers do. They're GPS tends to be far more reliable too. Best of all, they use a lot less gas. – DanF Mar 13 '15 at 15:41
  • @Danno Thanks for this answer. I'm wondering, among other things, if the halacha suggests that it is preferable to say the halacha literally "on" the road? Or only that one may do so? – SAH Mar 15 '15 at 3:42
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From Halachapedia:

It is preferable to stop the car to make the bracha, however, if it is dangerous or it will disturb one’s concentration if one stops, one may say it while traveling. [19]

Some say that because of lack of safety in saying Tefillat HaDerech while driving and lack of kavana (proper intent) one may say it in the Shomeh Tefillah of the Shmoneh Esrei prior to leaving. [20]

Notes:

[19] Shulchan Aruch 110:4, Mishna Brurah 110:22, 23, Halacha Brurah 110:11

[20] Tefillah KeHilchata (chap 27 note 80) in name of Rav Scheinberg says that if one will not be able to stop and one cannot say it while driving because of a safety hazard and lack of kavana one should say it in the Shomeh Tefillah of the Shmoneh Esrei prior to leaving.

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