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Distracted Driving – A Text Is Not Worth It
Cell phones are a hazard to drivers and their passengers. The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. Over 330,000 of those accidents are cause by texting while driving.
You are a distracted driver if you are using your cell or smart phone, eating or drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading your navigation system, watching a video, adjusting a music player, in short, not paying attention to the road. However, the most lethal, and most prevalent distraction of drivers today is texting.
There are three types of distractions that can happen while driving:
- Manual distractions are those where you move your hands away from the task of controlling the vehicle. Reaching for a soda in the drink carrier is an example of a manual distraction.
- Visual distractions are those where you focus your eyes away from the road. You drop your soda, and when it spills all over the floor of the car, you look down at your ruined shoes and stained slacks: that’s a visual distraction.
- A cognitive distraction is when your mind wanders away from the task of driving. You start to consider whether you can afford to replace the clothing you just ruined, and what stores have bargains this week, and you’re no longer paying attention to the essential job of driving. Hence: cognitive distraction.
Texting involves all three types of distraction, all at once.
Most people recognize that other drivers are behaving irresponsibly but find excuses for their own risky driving behavior. The “It won’t happen to me…” mind set is perhaps the most dangerous. Over 90 percent of drivers recognize the danger from cell phone distractions however most of those same people admit that they text or even email while driving.
At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.
Talking on a cell phone quadruples your risk of an accident, about the same as if you were driving drunk. That risk doubles again, to eight times normal, if you are texting.
Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times greater than driving without distraction.
Sending or receiving a text message distracts a driver for about five seconds; at highway speeds, that represents a distance of about 300 feet in which the car is essentially out of human control, driving itself.
Those who text while driving are nearly twice as likely to ride with a driver who has been drinking.
What can you do?
Do not text and drive. It’s that simple. A text is not worth a life. As a passenger, help your driver to drive distraction-free. Make good choices for yourself and others. It’s really not that difficult to know what to do to drive safer, but sometimes it is difficult to change our driving behaviors, especially the use of portable electronic devices. Habits may be difficult to change unless we have a plan and commit to driving safer. Make the commitment and drive safely.
This message is proudly sponsored by WMC Tri-State Medical Network.