The roads are over-crowded during the holiday season. People are traveling on unfamiliar roads, traffic back-ups and jams are going to be prevalent, and no one wants to be late or miss a party or event. We tend to depend on our phones to get us where we’re going. But your phone may end up being your enemy. Let’s take a hard look at texting while driving.
Smartphones have the power to connect us to the entire world from the palm of our hand, and as smartphones get smarter, the world continues to operate at a faster pace. There’s an expectation that we’re always within reach of our phones, ready to answer phone call and promptly reply to an email or text message. To some, the idea of leaving a message unanswered for even 10 or 15 minutes brings on anxiety.
As a result, many of us continue to use our smartphones while driving, even though we’re aware that it’s unsafe. We figure the many “quick glances” at our phones won’t affect our driving, and think the accidents caused by drivers who were texting won’t happen to us, but will instead happen to someone else. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Texting while driving makes you 23 percent more likely to crash your vehicle, according to Texting and Driving Safety (www.textinganddrivingsafety.com). That’s nearly one of every car four accidents caused by this unsafe practice. If 23% of the people in a community got food poisoning from the same restaurant, you probably wouldn’t even consider dining there. The numbers are clearly not in your favor, and you’d just avoid the restaurant altogether.
Yet for whatever reason this logic does not translate to texting while driving. Just like the restaurant example, the numbers are clearly not in your favor. The statistics make it clear that it is incredibly unsafe to text and drive, and it’s a behavior that’s just as easy to avoid.
Well, those “quick glances” at your phone are not as quick as you think. Studies show that when you “glance” at your phone to read a message, your eyes are taken off the road for not 1 second, but 4-5 continuous seconds. A car traveling at a speed of 55 miles per hour covers the entire length of a football field in that time. That’s 100 yards in which a child, dog, or deer could run out into the street, another car could stop short, or you could drift into oncoming traffic or a tree or telephone pole.
It’s not only texting that’s so dangerous; it’s interacting with our phones in any capacity. If you’re dialing someone’s number, you’re immediately 2.8 times more likely to be involved in a crash. If you’re talking or listening to a phone conversation, you’re 1.3 times more likely to crash, even with your eyes still on the road. Just searching for your phone in the car while you’re driving makes you 1.4 times more likely to crash. Bottom line…Driving requires our full attention.
Most anti-texting-while-driving campaigns are targeted toward teenagers, and for good reason. Teens are the least experienced drivers on the road, and they’re more attached to their phones as any other demographic. It’s important to express the dangers of texting and driving early and often and to remind them that social media can wait. Is responding to a Tweet, or answering a text message worth risking a life? If they dropped their phone off a cliff while answering a text, would they dive off the cliff to retrieve their phone and finish sending the message? Obviously not.
So what strategies can parents employ to mitigate phone use? Experts suggest that before your child even gets their learner’s permit, they sign a driving contract. This makes your child’s driving privileges contingent on a signed agreement that includes mandating their phone stay in the glove box from the time they get into the car until they park and get out.
It is important to lead by example. Experience drivers have become attached to their phones and are guilty of many of the same behaviors as their children. Recent ad campaigns have targeted adults making phone calls or sharing photos of their kids on Facebook while driving. Responding to an urgent work email or checking credit card statements while driving, makes an adult just as vulnerable to having an accident as teenagers.
Regardless of the reasoning, using your smartphone while driving is not worth risking one’s life. Adults may be more experienced drivers, but when you text and drive you’re essentially driving with a blindfold over your face for seconds at a time and risking not only your own life, but the lives of others on and off the road.
This is easily a one-sided argument. Put your phone away before getting behind the wheel. Phoning, texting, emailing, and posting can wait.
Headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia and with a mid-west office in Louisville, Kentucky, Foundation Insurance Group is an independent full-service insurance agency specializing in auto, home, life, and business insurance. Since our founding in 1994 the mission has been simple: “Our mission is to provide solid solutions backed by superior service at a competitive price.” For years we’ve partnered with a variety of top rated insurance carriers to fulfill this mission and to provide our clients with tailored insurance programs that fit the unique needs of an individual or business.
We, at Foundation Insurance Group wish everyone a very happy holiday season. For more information about homeowners, auto, life, and business insurance, contact us today, or visit our website: www.foundationinsurancegroup.com.