It Can Wait: Consequences of Texting and Driving

Technology has made it possible for people to stay connected at all times, regardless of where they are or what they're doing. While this can be beneficial in some ways, it's extremely dangerous while driving. When a person is behind the wheel of a car, they should have their hands on the steering wheel and their full attention on what's happening on the road. Unfortunately, drivers can be distracted by sending and receiving text messages instead. As a result, they are no longer operating their vehicle in a safe manner, which can lead to accidents that involve other vehicles or pedestrians. Drivers may unintentionally run traffic lights or lose control of their vehicle and hit and destroy public property. Texting and driving can enrage other drivers, resulting in a violent altercation. In the worst-case scenario, texting and driving can also result in a loss of life.

Facts and Statistics About Distracted Driving Accidents

Texting while driving is a form of distracted driving, which is defined as any activity that distracts a driver from the act of operating a vehicle. A number of different activities can serve as distractions for drivers, such as talking on a cell phone or arguing with passengers. This type of behavior resulted in 3,477 deaths in 2015. Of these behaviors, texting is arguably the most dangerous. There are three types of distraction that can occur while driving: manual distractions, in which at least one of the driver's hands is removed from the steering wheel; visual distractions that take the driver's eyes off of the road; and cognitive distractions, in which one's thoughts are no longer on the operating the vehicle. When a driver is texting, that person is guilty of all three types of distraction, as they are holding their phone and keying in messages, reading messages, and thinking about what has been said or what they are saying in return. Research has shown that a driver is up to 23 times more likely to get into a car accident if they are texting compared to drivers who are not.

Road Rage Due to Texting

When drivers are overcome with intense, violent rage due to the stress and frustration of driving, it's known as road rage. People with road rage act out in aggressive ways toward other drivers: They may scream, curse, and/or use rude gestures toward others on the road. Some enraged drivers may follow others too closely, chase them down, or attempt to run them off of the road. While a car can be a dangerous weapon itself, some drivers may also use guns or other weapons to express their rage. While a number of triggers are associated with road rage, texting places high on the list.

Safe Driving Tips

The best way to avoid accidents caused by texting and driving is for the driver to turn off their phone entirely until they've reached their destination. Ideally, the phone should be placed in a location where the driver cannot easily reach it unless the vehicle is pulled over, such as in the trunk. For phones that are left on, apps are available that will block them from receiving text messages and phone calls. And some newer vehicles have technology that enables drivers to connect their phone to their vehicle, which allows them to listen to their text messages instead of reading them and use their voice to respond without the use of their hands.