Some people believe it's safe to text behind the wheel when they're stopped at a traffic light. People have become more connected through texts, emails and phone calls, so it's no wonder that they want to check their messages when they aren't moving.
Texting and driving is illegal, though, no matter where you are in your vehicle. Even texting at a red light could result in a ticket and fines in Virginia. It could also cause a crash.
Why is texting at a red light dangerous?
While you may not be moving at any great speed, the reality is that you could still cause a crash while texting at a red light. Normally, people watch for a green light to move forward. However, if you're texting, you might rely more on your peripheral vision. With peripheral vision, you're looking for the movement of other vehicles, not the change in the light.
The problem is that people often move forward a little bit at a time when waiting for a light to turn green. This simple movement could end up causing a person who is texting to suddenly drive forward. It could result in a crash in the intersection or a rear-end collision. If a person is walking in front of your vehicle, you could also cause a pedestrian injury.
Another interesting fact is that people often remain distracted after finishing interacting with their phones. It may take up to 90 seconds for people to refocus on what they're supposed to be doing: driving.
The final problem with texting behind the wheel at a red light is that the texter is unlikely to see the light change. If the driver doesn't see the light turn green, then they can block traffic.
Often, another driver will use a horn to alert the distracted driver after the light has changed, but this shouldn't have to happen. If you have others honking at you, it's clear that you are distracted. It should be a sign to put down the phone and start focusing on the road instead.
It can wait
Texting at a red light is more dangerous than people think, and it is completely avoidable. If you need to text when you're driving, wait until you can pull over to the side of the road, into a rest stop or into a parking lot.