Phones are amazing devices these days. They can do just about anything we want them to—a mini computer that we can bring wherever we go. They are convenient and clever, and it is tempting to use them when we are on the go. However, texting and driving is stupid and dangerous and places the lives of both you and those around you in danger. And yet it still seems to be a problem that is endemic to the United States, as though no amount of campaigning or pleading will put a stop to it.
At least nine people are killed every day in the United States as a direct result of distracted driving. A further 1,060 people are injured in crashes.
What is distracted driving? It is defined as either visual—taking your eyes off the road; manual—taking your hands off the wheel; or cognitive—taking your mind off of driving. Texting is the most dangerous driving interruption. Why? Because it combines all three of these types of distractions. If someone told you they would drive you somewhere without looking, using the wheel, or even thinking about driving, would you go with them?
It is for this reason that almost every state has banned texting and driving. It should not take a law to tell you not to text and drive, but if you refrain for no other reason, do it to avoid getting a ticket or ending up in a class for defensive driving. Florida is the latest state to ban texting and driving, an offense that can result in a $30 fine. However, this sort of thing is not going to be enough to make the real changes that are needed when it comes to phone use in the car. Only we as a society can do that.
Spotting Distracted Drivers
Despite the obvious danger that occurs when texting while driving, many people are still guilty of doing it—even when driving at high speeds on the freeway. If you happen to be driving near a distracted driver, it is in your best interest to keep your distance. You can spot them easily, as they will often drive in an erratic way that may even give the impression that they are driving drunk. They might be driving 15 mph under the speed limit or just at inconsistent speeds. They might break suddenly or swerve as they are driving. Such drivers are a danger to themselves and everyone else on the road. Make sure that you hang back and give them a wide berth if you move to overtake.
It Can Wait
Any phone use is bad when driving, as it requires the driver to take at least one hand off of the wheel and most of their mind off of the road. But since it will take a lot to affect the necessary changes required to cut back on phone use as a whole, for now, let’s focus on the worst one. Don’t text when driving. Even if you have an “emergency” that you need to text about. Nothing is as important as a human life.