Despite the fact that Virginia drivers no longer can have a cell phone in their hands while driving, you still may feel that temptation. You even may want to answer a text while behind the wheel. You understand that distracted driving is dangerous, but you’ve done it before. How dangerous can texting and driving really be?
The dangers of texting and driving
Most safety experts consider texting and driving the most dangerous form of distracted driving. One major reason texting and driving is so dangerous is that drivers who text spend an average of five seconds creating a text. If they are driving at 55 miles per hour, a driver can travel the length of a football field while texting – plenty of time to miss seeing a driver stop ahead of you or quickly move into your lane.
Texting while driving also is dangerous because it encompasses all three types of distracted driving:
- Manual (both your hands aren’t on the steering wheel – instead one is holding your phone while texting)
- Visual (your eyes aren’t on the road ahead of you, but on your phone to create your text)
- Cognitive (your mind is not focused solely on driving, but on reading a text or writing a text)
This is why texting while driving is banned in 48 states and in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, as of 2018, 2.1% of all drivers still were texting and driving and 4.2% of those ages 16-24 texted while driving.
Ways to prevent texting and driving
If you want to prevent your temptation to text while driving, you can do the following:
- Turn off your phone while driving and put it in the back seat.
- Use an app that prevents you from using your phone while driving.
- Have a passenger serve as the navigator while you are driving.
- Pull over if you need to use your phone.
If you are a parent with a teen driver, showing them that you don’t need to use you cell phone while driving is very important. You also can create a contract for them to sign, where they agree to not use their cell phone while driving and if they do so, they can lose their driving privileges.
Texting while driving can cause devastating accidents. It has claimed the lives of thousands of people over the last few years, even after many states banned it. Anytime you face temptation to text while driving, don’t forget what’s really at stake: your safety, the safety of those in your vehicle and the safety of those drivers you are sharing the road with too.