About texting and driving: Who do you need to talk to so badly that you’re willing to risk your life to do it?
I say this because I know people who text and drive all the time, and I’ve even tried it myself. But having tried it–and almost causing a couple of accidents because of it–I don’t understand why people continue to do it. I definitely understand that the conversation is important, and it’s REALLY tempting to try to carry on a text conversation as soon as you receive a message, but personally, I’d rather not have a half-finished text message as my last act on Earth.
The REAL Dangers of Texting and Driving: Distracted Driving
This infographic from TextingAndDrivingSafety shows how dangerous this is. When you text, you’ve spent at least 5 seconds not looking at the road, which means you’re covering a lot of ground while not even looking where you’re going. This causes over a million crashes every year, as this Google search will show you.
Anybody, even the most skilled driver, becomes an erratic driver when their attention is focused elsewhere. You can just tell when there’s a distracted driver ahead of you–they weave between their lane lines (and sometimes cross them), they are either driving way too slow or way too fast for the speed limit, and they either brake randomly or tailgate like crazy. Texting/distracted drivers scare the heck out of me, and for good reason. Thus, I don’t want to scare other drivers with my behavior.
How to Safely Read (NOT ANSWER) A Text While Driving
ONLY in emergency situations, if you are waiting for a text to tell you which hospital to go to, or where you need to be ASAP, here is a procedure I have followed:
- Make sure there are few to no other cars around (i.e., you’re not on a major highway)
- Make sure you are on a straightaway and there are no curves or lack of road shoulders ahead
- Hold the phone up on top of the steering wheel with one hand, so you can glance quickly down at the message and then glance back up. You should spend 4 of every 5 seconds looking at the road ahead.
Notice that I did not say “answer the text”, but “read the text.” If you need to ANSWER the text, pull over onto the side of the road or into a well-lit parking lot to do so, because this is not something you should attempt while the car is moving. (Trust me, I consider myself a master of multitasking, and yet when I tried to text I felt like I was completely out of control of the car. I couldn’t put the phone away fast enough.)
Don’t type a text while the car is moving–keep yourself AND others safe on the road!