In this current day, it is difficult to imagine a moment where we are not without our phones. Waking up in the morning, in the kitchen, getting ready for work or school, our phones are attached to our hands to the point of where it feels abnormal to not have it. We all know the cons of constantly being on our phones and how it may negatively impact our health or build a dependency to text message or go on the internet. However, a huge problem exists with using a phone while driving. Texting and driving, two words that should never go together.
There is no justification in using a mobile device while driving because of the hazards it causes. Taking our eyes off the road for less than a second to respond to a text dramatically increases the possibility to causing harm to yourself, or worse, to other people. It is the equivalent of driving with your eyes closed.
The average speed in the United States is roughly 55mph when traveling in a car and within 5 seconds a person travels roughly the length of a football field; which is roughly the same amount of time it takes for a person to read a text message with their eyes off the road(Icebike). To put this in perspective, it takes roughly the same amount of time to starting a car and putting on a seatbelt.
We may feel safe when we are behind the wheel and take the proper precautions to drive safely, it is other drivers that do not follow the same protocol. How can we increase our chances of safety on the road? I myself understand that it is critical to drive effectively by reducing the number of distractions, and driving assertively when conditions are less than ideal. Texting and driving will be an issue that will not go away, but we can start implementing the right methods and a positive mindset as a driver.
1. Put Down The Phone. Easier said than done, but this reason alone will reduce the possibility of an accident from happening. The more time our eyes are faced on the road and scanning the area, the stronger our chances of being an effective driver increase significantly. We feel that we’re safe drivers, there’s no mistaking that, but what about other drivers? A teen that just completed driving school, an elderly person that has slower reaction times, a person that is in a less than ideal state-of-mind; these are all factors that dramatically increase the possibility of an accident. By putting down the phone, we are able to spot these key factors and make the necessary adjustments when driving.
2. Have A Passenger Handle The Device. Mobile phones, GPS, music selection, allow a non-operating person handle these. It is tempting to know exactly what a message says or to change a song, don’t. It is much better that someone else handles these tasks to enable the driver to do what they’re tasked to do; drive! While the driver’s eyes can stay focused on the road rather than elsewhere, they can be verbally communicate what their request is. Imagine the scenario of having multiple passengers in the car and the driver is the one handling their phone, changing music, or actively operate a navigation system. It does not make any sense. Let the passengers handle your devices to keep you and them safe.
3. Set Up Automated Messages. Car manufacturers are creating innovative solutions to keep passengers safe. Designing cars that provide strong support and to be able to handle accidents is important, but what else can be done? Some manufacturers have created a system when the phone is connected to the vehicle via Bluetooth, it automatically submits a message stating the driver is busy and will respond when the vehicle is at a complete stop or turned off. Applications can also be downloaded and turned on to indicate the same notification as well. Unless in absolute emergency situations, the driver will be able to continue to operate their vehicle safely until their travel is completed.
While texting and driving may never come to an end, these reasons, among many others, can help reduce the negative impacts of driving distracted. Driving is a privilege, not a right. We need to better understand the importance that vehicles have the ability to quickly travel us to wherever we desire, but also know that it can damage a life if taken for granted. In order to reduce texting and driving, it is important that everyone operating a vehicle on the road knows the dangers of distracted driving.