Although people know it’s dangerous, texting is just as popular as ever, even when people are driving. Texting creates a major distraction for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers, but despite that risk, it’s still something that you can see people doing every day.
Texting itself might seem harmless. It takes only a second or two to read and send a text. With voice activation, it’s even easier. Still, in just five seconds, a vehicle moving at around 55 mph will travel the length of a football field. During that time, the driver may not have looked up once.
Three types of distractions make texting one of the greatest hazards on the road
Three distractions are involved when a person texts, including a visual distraction, such as looking away from the road, manual distraction, such as holding a phone, and cognitive distraction, such as thinking about how to respond or getting upset about a message.
While many actions you take behind the wheel may cause one or two types of distractions, combining all three creates the perfect storm for a serious collision.
How can you help reduce the number of people texting and driving?
It’s helpful for people to self-police for behaviors that could lead to a crash. For instance, if you tend to fiddle with your phone when you’re stopped at a red light, put it into a locked glove compartment. If you know someone else who texts regularly while driving, ask them to consider the real risk they’re taking and how they could hurt themselves or others. Educating them on the increased risk could be enough to get them to set aside their device while driving.
Changing your own actions is the key to reducing crashes
Unfortunately, people will still choose to text and drive for a myriad of reasons. The best you can do for yourself is to make a conscious effort not to do so. If you are hit by someone who was texting, then you can take steps to hold them accountable, which will hopefully change their actions in the future and help protect others from a serious or fatal car crash.