Texting and driving is a recent phenomenon that is largely regarded as a teenage and young adult problem; however, in reality, people of all ages are getting into accidents because they are driving distractedly.
The term “texting and driving” is a specific phrase for what is actually a broad range of cell phone-based activities, including searching for music, surfing the web, checking Facebook, reading emails, or any other activity that gets your eyes off the road and on your phone for an alarming amount of time. (You might think it’s not, but it is.) You don’t actually have to be texting in order to be considered texting and driving.
Truth: Do You Text While Driving?
The truth is that texting and driving is the single most dangerous thing you can do behind the wheel (even more so than driving drunk). Texting or using your phone takes your eyes away from the road for longer periods of time than any other activity people tend to do while driving (like eat, put on lipstick, change the radio dial, etc.)
What Makes Texting and Driving So Dangerous?
Using your phone while driving causes you to look down for an average of 5 seconds at a time. If you’re driving 55 mph, that means you’ve driven the length of an entire football field without looking. If that sounds scary, it’s because it is. You’re 23 times more likely to get into an accident when you’re texting and driving.
Another reason texting and driving is so scary? So many people do it, and claim they can do it “safely.” Everyone knows that drunk driving is unsafe, and everyone knows they shouldn’t do it under any circumstances. However, even though texting and driving is more dangerous, 77% of young adults claim they can drive safely while texting. They’ve done it before, they believe themselves to be “good at it,” and have developed a system of either glancing down at the phone and then back out the windshield rapidly or of holding the phone close to the windshield to keep it in their “line of vision.”
In reality, people who text while driving, even those who are “good at it,” spend about 11% of their time outside of their lane.
Distracted Driving Comes in Different Forms
The visual act of looking down at your phone is only one of the elements that makes texting while driving a distraction.
Driving is made up of three different categories:
- Visual, aka seeing the road in front of you and everything in and around it.
- Manual, aka having your hands on the wheel and your feet on the pedals.
- Cognitive, aka thinking about what you are doing and focusing specifically on driving.
Texting while driving causes you distraction in all three of these categories:
- Visual: You’re taking your eyes off the road for full seconds at a time.
- Manual: You’re taking your hands off the wheel to use your phone.
- Cognitive: Your main focus is not on driving, but on whatever is happening on your phone screen.
Dare: Sign the Pledge
Join Carpey Law and keep our roads safer by pledging not to text and drive.
- Composing texts or emails
- Reading texts or emails
- Viewing or taking snapchats
- Scrolling through your music selection to find a particular song
- Doing anything that requires touching, unlocking, or looking at your phone
- You’re at a red light or stop sign
- You’re running late for something and are tempted to text the person you’re meeting to let them know (It’s better to arrive late than dead, as they say.)
- A song comes on that you don’t feel like listening to
- You have six unread texts from your mom or significant other
- If someone is in mortal peril and needs your immediate help, they will call you. Otherwise, there is no situation that cannot wait until you reach your destination.
Promising to keep driving and cell phone use of any kind separate means you’re making our local roads and highways safer. Thank you!
Stuart A. Carpey, who has been practicing as an attorney since 1987, focuses his practice on complex civil litigation which includes representing injured individuals in a vast array of personal injury cases.