Do you think texting doesn’t affect your driving? There are some shocking statistics that say otherwise.
Texting and Driving: A Deadly Combination
Natasha Boggs was only 24 years old when she killed two teenage girls by accident. While texting and driving, Boggs drifted into oncoming traffic. Unfortunately, Taylor Galloway and Amber Thoma, two fourteen-year old girls, were the fatal victims of Boggs’ neglectful driving.
Jack Dillon, a truck driver from Leakey, Texas, was only 20 years old when he killed 13 people. What did this young driver have in common with Natasha Boggs? Dillon was also texting and driving when he caused the deadly vehicle crash. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I was texting. I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Dillon said speaking to police after the accident.
Texting while you are driving is not only an extremely stupid way to distract yourself from the road, it is also a deadly risk to the lives of you and everybody around you. This kind of neglectful driving is almost as selfish as getting behind the wheel when you are intoxicated.
The infographic shown depicts just how deadly texting and driving can be. Yet 1 out of every 5 drivers aged 18-20 believe that texting does not impact their driving skills. I’m sure the 15 people killed from just these two incidents would think otherwise.
Texting and Driving by the Numbers
Ask yourself honestly, do you text and drive? Even if you just do it “sometimes,” that still counts. Even if you don’t think your texting and driving is a problem, it could set a poor example for others in the car with you.
15% of young drivers have seen their parents texting and driving. That means 15% of new drivers think that texting and driving is acceptable, because they see their parents doing it. Furthermore, a shocking 48% of kids aged 12-17 have been in a car while the driver was texting. You may not think your texting and driving is a big deal, but you might be setting your own children up for a potentially deadly situation.
Almost every single driver has witnessed the deadly risk that is texting and driving. 3 out of 4 drivers say they have seen someone texting while driving. How many times have you been behind someone at a traffic light, and when the light turns green, they just don’t move? It is when you *HONK* at them and see their head bolt up and their car jet forward when you realize, that person wasn’t aware of the light change because they were on their phone. While you may not actually kill someone while you use your phone at a traffic light, it is extremely rude and a major annoyance to the person who missed their turn because you were messaging a friend.
Taking your eyes off the road to text takes an average of 4.6 seconds. This is almost 5 whole seconds when you literally can’t see what’s in front of you. This is the equivalent to driving 55MPH for the length of an entire football field. Is that a risk you really want to take?
Why Do We Text and Drive?
“What’s the address?” “I’m almost there,” “I just saw my high school math teacher totally rocking out to Justin Bieber in a parking lot.” These are all things we might feel are important enough to tell another person. But is getting the message out crucial enough to justify putting innocent lives at risk? If you just said, “yes,” you are most likely what I like to refer as a “garbage person.”
The correct answer is: NO, your text message is never more important that somebody else’s life.
But we live in a world of constant updates, just a few minutes “out of the loop” can make us feel like we are missing out big time. #FOMO. Sometimes we can feel like we need to contribute to this uninterrupted steam of consciousness or be left behind.
I am here to tell you this is not true. It is important to unplug and detach from the internet, social media, and all screens in general from time to time, ESPECIALLY when you are driving.
Alternatives to Texting and Driving
If you just need to get your message out, make sure you use your brain. Never use your phone to text when your car is on the road and in motion. This is just plain dumb. There are other ways to communicate on-the-go that don’t put everybody’s life at risk.
- WAIT – Patience is a virtue. Think, do you really need to send a text now, while you are driving? I’ll answer for you: No, probably not. Hold off until you get to where you’re going to tell your friend your breaking news. I’m sure it can wait, so can you.
- Ask a co-pilot – If you are driving with a friend in the car, have them send your message for you. Feel like an eighteenth century king dictating your important decrees. The good people of the land (or the road), will thank you for not putting their lives in mortal danger.
- Use Bluetooth technology – Not everybody always drives with a personal scribe, so use the technology that is most likely available on your phone instead. The wireless, voice activated Bluetooth feature on most smartphones allows you to send a message without ever having to take your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road.
- Find a parking lot - If you are driving alone, don’t have access to Bluetooth technology and you just have to tell your friend you are going to be 15 minutes late for your dinner plans, stop in a parking lot for a minute or so to compose and send your message. You’re already running late, what’s another two minutes compared to losing your life or taking away somebody else’s?
- Pull over – A simple, yet effective solution. IMPORTANT: I highly discourage using this tip while on a busy road like a highway or expressway. But if you need to send that text while you are traveling alone in your car, please, at least pull over. Put your hazard lights on and quickly send your message from the side of the road. When you are done, carefully ease back into traffic. Texting while pulled over roadside is a safer and more responsible alternative to putting countless lives at risk.