We’ve all heard the dire warnings about distracted driving. Maybe part of us knows that texting and driving is wrong and dangerous, but do we ignore our instincts and do it anyways? When you’re behind the wheel, it’s important that your full attention is on the road and not anything else. Texting and driving isn’t something to take lightly, as the consequences are far-reaching and severe. We’ll outline five reasons not to text and drive.
1. The statistics don’t lie.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving (including texting and driving) killed 3,450 nationwide in 2016. Over 390,000 people were injured in car accidents involving distracted driving in 2015. They estimate that at any given moment during the day in 2016, 481,000 people were using electronic devices while driving.
The CDC adds to these statistics that every day in the US, nine people are killed in car crashes that involve a distracted driver and over 1,000 are injured in distracted driving accidents every day.
The numbers are very sobering. It’s important to remember and keep in mind that you’re not on the road alone. There are innocent drivers and pedestrians all around you, and they could get hurt if a lapse in your attention results in a car accident.
2. Texting and driving is illegal in Georgia.
In Georgia, texting and driving is illegal. It’s also considered a primary law, meaning that a police officer can pull you over for texting without having to see any other offense. If you get caught texting and driving, you’ll have to pay a fine and you’ll get one point against your driver’s license. Points are not good, so it’s best to put the phone away while you’re driving.
For the record, “texting” as defined by the law is writing, reading, or sending text data using an electronic device (and yes, that includes emails.)
3. If you’re texting and driving, you travel farther than you think without looking at the road.
Reading or sending a text takes your attention off the road for about five seconds. Let’s say that you’re driving 45 mph. At that speed, you’ll travel 330 feet in five seconds. That’s over the length of a football field. At 55 mph, you’ll travel 403 feet in five seconds. That’s pretty terrifying to think about if you’re not looking at the road.
Imagine if someone asked you to put on a blindfold and drive the length of a football field. You wouldn’t do it, right? There are way too many risks – you could hit another car, strike a pedestrian, veer off the road. If you text and drive, you’re essentially driving blindfolded. Even looking away for two seconds means that you’re not watching the road for 132 feet. That’s about one and a half basketball courts. When you’re driving, reaction time is critical. And you can’t have a decent reaction time if you’re wasting precious seconds looking at your phone. You have to know what’s coming and act as quickly as possible – that’s part of being a defensive driver. Sure you might have collision coverage for your car, but it’s best to not have to use it.
4. Texting and driving involves multiple forms of distraction.
There are three main types of distraction while you’re driving. There are manual distractions, which take your hands off the steering wheel. There are cognitive distractions, in which your mind is not focused on the road. And then there are visual distractions, which take your eyes away from the road. The thing about texting and driving is that it involves all three types of distraction, which makes it super dangerous. If your hands aren’t on the steering wheel, your mind isn’t focused on the road, and your eyes aren’t looking where you’re going, how are you supposed to operate a vehicle? All three of those things are kind of important when it comes to driving.
5. Car accidents make your car insurance rates go up.
When you’re getting a quote for car insurance, chances are that the agent is going to check your driving record. Car accidents that are on your record can count against you when it comes to your insurance rates because being involved in accidents means that you’re a higher risk to insure. And insurance companies really don’t like risk, so they charge more the higher a risk you are. Car insurance is expensive enough as it is, but it pays to be a safe driver. If you haven’t been in any car accidents or gotten any speeding tickets, you’re seen as being less of a risk, meaning that you could save money on car insurance rates. So, there’s another reason to not text and drive
Texting and driving puts both your safety and the safety of others on the road at risk. Thousands of people die each year because of distracted driving accidents. By simply putting your phone down and not looking at it while you drive, you lower your chances of causing a car accident. Driving and distractions just don’t mix. So, don’t take your chances – put the phone away and wait until you’re safely at your destination to text.
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