Ignore Your Phone when driving.
We have all, undoubtedly, seen the advertisements. A driver inadvertently takes his/her eyes off the road to receive a call or respond to a text message for a few seconds and suddenly the driver’s life is changed forever by a horrific accident. These commercials are tough to watch as no driver would want to contemplate being responsible for a traffic accident that takes the life of other pedestrians or motorists, or even worse, their own. Nevertheless, most drivers still insist on using their mobile phones while operating their vehicles.
While receiving a phone call while driving is dangerous enough, text messaging has made mobile phones even more incompatible with driving. Sending or receiving an email or text not only takes both your eyes off the road, but it also takes your mind off the task of driving, and in some instances, both hands off the steering wheel. Therefore, the next time you feel that buzz or hear that irresistible beep or ring tone, remember these 8 reasons not to use your mobile phone as follows:
- It is illegal
As the correlation between car accidents and using your cell phone while driving escalates, many jurisdictions across the world are passing legislation that makes it illegal to use your phone on the road. Those who are caught are issued by citations by policemen who will most likely be perturbed by the driver’s ignorance and poor decision making in light of the devastating effects of using phones while driving evident at accident scenes.
- Limited view of surroundings
Distracted drivers are unable to process everything that they see out of their vehicle’s windshield and are thus unable to monitor their surroundings. This affects a driver’s ability to identify and seek out potential hazards, and consequently respond to any unexpected events while on the road. For instance, if your eyes are fixed on checking out tonight’s dinner menu instead of checking your mirrors, you are unlikely to see that sports car moving into your path as you change lanes. In fact, a driver using a mobile phone on the road may fail to see up to half of the objects that are in their driving environment.
- Delayed response times
Research shows that reaction and response times are significantly delayed when a driver is using their cell phone while driving. If you are speeding down the freeway, a fraction of a second can be the difference between avoiding a road hazard, a crash, and possibly saving the life of others.
Drivers who are either listening to music or generally interacting with their phones have more difficulty staying in their lane, and will often drift unknowingly into another lane. At high speeds, this drastically reduces the driver’s available response time and margin of error in the moments leading up to a potential car crash.
- Driver distraction
A recent study by the U.K.’s Institute of Advanced Motorists shows that driver distractions (interacting with social media and text messaging) are the two biggest safety concerns on our roads today, with 93% of all drivers believing that these behaviors pose a serious threat to road safety. That is higher than driving while under the influence of illegal or prescription drugs, speeding, or even talking on the phone.
Unfortunately, these fears are not unfounded. One in every four crashes in the U.K. involve driver distraction i.e. texting, using an app, eating, or being distracted by one of your passengers. Research also shows that about 50% of teenage drivers admit to using apps or texting while driving- with those who do so 23 more times likely to be involved in a crash. These are pretty damning statistics and despite the thousands of lives lost annually to driver distraction on the roads, intelligent, rational people still continue to make irrational decisions like taking selfies while driving or updating social media profiles.
- Insurance rate hikes
If you think that your auto insurance premiums are expensive at present, wait until your insurance company finds out that you have received a citation for talking on your cell phone or texting while driving. If this is included in a police report for an accident or wreck for which you are responsible, sooner or later, you will notice a significant rate increase and in some instances, your policy may be dropped all together.
- Consider your passengers and other motorists
Transporting other human beings in your vehicle is a tremendous responsibility which is, unfortunately, taken lightly by many young drivers. Receiving or sending a text message while driving puts your passengers at a significantly higher risk of being involved in an accident when riding in your vehicle. In addition, texting and driving puts all other road users who are sharing the road with you at risk too because you are unable to navigate while looking down at your cell phone in your lap. Could you live with the knowledge that your decision to send a text message or answer your phone while driving caused someone else to be killed or suffer a life-altering injury?
- Consider parking your vehicle
If you simply cannot resist the urge to take a call while driving or check your text messages, take the time to pull out of the road and park your vehicle before attending to your cell phone. Stop signs and red lights are not safe places to check your phone. Instead, pull over at a safe location on the side of the road or find a parking lot.
Ask yourself a question: Is it worth putting your life and that of your passengers and other drivers at risk so that you can use your phone?’ If not, break the habit now. It is really quite simple- whenever you are on the road, put your phone out of sight and touch and on silent. You could also download one of the many apps available that can help you stop using your phone while driving. But whatever you decide, always keep your eyes on the road rather than on your phone. Your life may depend on it.
Like all bad practices and habits, the best way to prevent them is by letting them never occur in the first place. Educating prospective drivers on this extremely dangerous practice before they even get behind the wheel will, undoubtedly, save many lives in future.
Please Note: The above is for education and awareness only. Please consult the official authorities in your country or town for the laws and limits of using a mobile phone while driving.