04 Jan The Harms of Texting and Driving
Most people wouldn’t defend driving while intoxicated, and yet many continue to engage in another harmful practice – texting and driving. In 2013, texting and driving caused an estimated 341,000 vehicle crashes. Despite this, 61 percent of drivers admit to texting and driving, putting other drivers at risk for injury or death.
How Texting Distracts You
Texting and driving is one of the worst forms of distracted driving because it diverts your attention in three ways – visually, manually and cognitively. Without keeping your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel and your mind attuned to the task at hand, you increase your chance of collision.
Many people believe texting and driving is okay because they’re only taking their eyes off the road for a split second. However, they likely don’t realize just how long it takes to answer a text. The longest amount of time you should spend with your eyes off the road is a mere two seconds. Even for an expert multitasker, texting takes more than double that time – five full seconds – thereby increasing the chance of an accident.
If you’re still not convinced, think about it this way – in just five seconds, a car traveling 55 miles per hour travels the length of an entire football field. Considering many highways in the U.S. have an even higher speed limit, you can easily do a lot of damage in the duration of just one text.
Though nearly everyone knows texting and driving is unsafe, many people continue to do it. Perhaps this is due to an increased reliance on smartphones. According to a poll by Common Sense Media, 72 percent of teens and 48 percent of parents feel the urge to check their notifications right away. If the text is from a loved one or a coworker, you may feel added pressure to look just to make sure everything is alright.
If you feel like that describes you, try the following solutions to prevent texting and driving.
- Put your phone in a bag, center console or glove compartment – Just like storing junk food in a drawer or the back of the pantry, hiding your phone from immediate view will reduce your urge to check your text messages. We already subconsciously do this when we put our phone upside down on our work desk or the dinner table. Out of sight, out of mind.
- Turn off notifications – You won’t feel the need to check a text if you don’t know one has come through. Silence rings and vibrations through your phone’s settings for an undistracted drive.
- Let friends and family know you’re driving – If you’re already having a text conversation with someone, send them a quick update that you’ll be driving before you hit the road. While it’s not their responsibility to make sure you’re driving safely, they’ll likely stop texting you until you’ve made it clear you’re no longer on the road.
- Install an app – Smartphones have become so sophisticated that we are now inventing apps to stop us from using other apps. AT&T DriveMode® and OneTap are both designed to help you stop yourself from texting while driving. If you have a teenager you suspect is texting at the wheel, apps like LifeSaver lock your teen’s phone while they’re driving and send you updates when they arrive safely at their destination.
- Tell the driver to stop – If you’re in a car with a distracted driver, the best solution is to reprimand them. While you may feel like you’re being annoying, you’re not overreacting. They are putting both of you at risk. Explain to them that texting and driving is just as harmful as drinking and driving or not wearing a seatbelt.
If you’re still not convinced, let fear of punishment motivate you. As of December 2017, 47 states and Washington, D.C., have outlawed texting and driving. Punishments range from fines to license suspension and jail time. By simply silencing your phone, you can avoid these punishments and keep the roads safer for others.
Deal with the Effects of Texting and Driving with 1-800-HELP-911 in Atlanta, GA
Despite these risks and solutions, some people will continue to text and drive. If you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicle accident due to the carelessness of a distracted driver, 1-800-HELP-911 may be able to help. Our service connects you directly to expert attorneys and experienced doctors who can advise you on the legal and medical steps available following a vehicle accident. Contact us today or call 1-800-487-8911 for your FREE consultation.