We’ve all seen the commercials. A driver takes his or her eyes off the road to read a text message, three seconds, maybe four… and suddenly the driver’s life is changed by a horrific accident.
These advertisements are hard to watch. No driver wants to think about being responsible for a traffic accident that takes his or her own life or the lives of other motorists or pedestrians. Nevertheless, most drivers still use their cell phones while operating their vehicle. While taking a phone call is dangerous enough, the advent of text messaging made cell phones even more incompatible with driving a car. Reading or sending a text or email takes both eyes off of the road, your mind off the task of driving, and sometimes both hands off the wheel.
The next time you hear that irresistible beep or feel that buzz, remember these 10 reasons not to text and drive.
As the correlation between auto accidents and texting while driving escalates, many municipalities and states are passing legislation making it illegal to text and drive.
Those who are caught will be issued a citation by a policeman who will most likely be quite perturbed at the driver’s ignorance and poor decision after witnessing the devastating effects of texting and driving at accident sites. A text message that reads “ok” isn’t worth a couple hundred dollar fine.
You think your auto insurance premium is too expensive now? Just wait until your insurance company finds out that you have received a citation for texting and driving! If texting and driving is included in the police report for an accident or wreck for which you are held responsible, you’ll notice an even more significant rate increase. In some cases, you policy might be dropped completely.
Transporting other human beings in your vehicle is a tremendous responsibility, on that many young drivers take lightly. Sending or reading a text message while driving puts your passengers’ lives at a significantly higher risk of being involved in an accident while riding in your vehicle. Could you live with the knowledge that your decision to pick up your phone while operating a vehicle caused someone to suffer a life-altering injury or be killed?
Texting and driving puts all the drivers sharing the road with you at risk, too, because you are unable to navigate the road while looking down at the phone in your lap.
Humans are smaller and less noticeable than vehicles, making the likelihood of you seeing a pedestrian in your peripheral vision while looking at your cell phone slim.
If you simply cannot resist the urge to check your text messages (or take a call) while driving, take the time to pull off of the roadway and park your vehicle before picking up your cell phone. Remember: red lights and stop signs are not safe places to check you cell phone. Find a parking lot, or pull over at a safe location on the side of the road.
Many brands of new cars are equipped with technology that connects your cell phone to your vehicle’s stereo system. If you drive an older model vehicle, invest in a cell phone with Bluetooth technology and voice recognition technology that will allow you to send and receive messages hands-free.
Cell phones’ autocorrect features are notorious for funny failures. Although sending a slightly embarrassing text message certainly isn’t the most serious consequence of texting and driving, it’s definitely a reason not to.
According to this study conducted by Car and Driver magazine, as well as several others by various safety institutions, using a cell phone to read or send text messages delays a driver’s reaction time as much or more than the legal limit of alcohol consumption.
Statistics by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Put down the phone. Keep your eyes on the road. Stay safe.