Published On: Mon, Jun 11th, 2018

The Dangers of Texting and Driving

Texting is still one of the most popular ways to communicate, despite the rise in social media and instant messaging. More than 560 billion text messages are sent all around the world every month, and 81 percent of Americans chat via text each day.

However, as convenient and fast as texting is, it does have its dark side: its power to endanger lives on our roads.

The Biggest Dangers of Texting and Driving

  • An easy distraction

photo Oregon Department of Transportation

The results of texting while driving can vary sigificantly.

In the best-case scenario, the driver may simply collide with a street light or fence, veer off the side of the road, or take the wrong turn-off. All of these can be unpleasant, either leaving you and others traumatized or simply disrupting your schedule.

A tow truck driver will be needed to remove the vehicle and make the road safe for other drivers once more.

However, in the worst cases, multiple vehicles can be heavily damaged, lives may be lost, and life-altering injuries might be caused.

Believe it or not, texting is responsible for more than 1.5 million accidents, more than 300,000 injuries and almost 25 percent of all vehicular accidents annually.

The number of deaths caused by distracted drivers has varied in recent years. In 2012, 3,328 fatalities were caused, though this dropped to 3,154 in 2013, 3,179 in 2014, and 3,477 in 2015.

Over the same period, the number of injuries caused by distracted drivers dropped from 421,000 to 391,000.

While fatality and injury rates may rise and fall, there is still far too much chaos being created by texting and driving.

One of the most frightening things about texting while driving is just how easy it is. If you’re at the wheel and you hear a text message come through, checking your phone is a natural impulse.

Sadly, that impulse can kill, injure, and cause severe property damage.

Reading and sending text messages makes you 23 times more likely to crash, even if you’re trying to type as quickly as possible. Your attention is still diverted from watching the road and being aware of other drivers’ behavior. It only takes a single second of poor concentration to cost lives and cause accidents.

  • Young and old share the blame

A staggering 34 percent of people claim to have texted while driving, while 52 percent admit to having spoken over the phone as they drove.

With the vast majority of Americans owning a cell phone, particularly those of younger generations, the risks of texting at the wheel are unlikely to go away any time soon.

Research shows that 77 percent of young adults are confident that they’re able to send text messages safely when driving. For teenagers, the problem may be caused by their parents’ behavior, with nearly half of those questioned admitting that they have seen their parents drive while holding a conversation on their phone.

It’s a terrifying situation, and it needs to change. Some states have banned using cell phones while driving and enforce penalties, while education to warn people from doing it has also improved.

However, more can still be done. What steps can you take to stop yourself texting while driving, and to prevent others making the same mistake?

  • The Solutions to Texting and Driving

Here are some effective ideas to stop yourself texting and driving at the wheel:

  • Stay silent

Always, always keep your phone on silent when you’re in the driver’s seat. If you can’t hear your handset beep or vibrate, you’ll be far less tempted to pick it up.

Even better, put it in the glove box: out of sight, out of mind.

  • Pull over!

Expecting an important call?

In cases like these, keeping your phone on silent may be unavoidable. However, as soon as you hear it, pull over and come to a complete stop. Only answer it once you’re in a safe place far from oncoming traffic.

This puts yourself and fellow drivers out of harm’s way.

  • Lead by example

If you’re a parent and often drive with your kids in the car, never text or answer calls while in motion.

Even if you think they’re too young to notice, they can pick up on your habits early. Always keep that in mind.

Your local towing service will always be on hand to help you if you experience a collision, breakdown, or an accident. Call Steel Towing now to learn more!

Author: Sal’it David

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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