Common sense tells us it’s unwise to distract ourselves while driving and research backs up this assumption. The reason texting while driving is so dangerous is because it distracts drivers in three distinct and dangerous ways:
- Cognitive distraction: When you drive your mind should be on the road, your rate of travel, upcoming intersections, nearby traffic and other potential hazards. Your mind should not be on a text, instant message or other information you can access on your phone. It takes brainpower to read and process a text or to compose one. If you are operating a motor vehicle, that mental energy must be spent on keeping you and others safe.
- Manual distraction: Most people learned to keep their hands on “ten and two” in driving school and for good reason (although modern methods favor “nine and three” to avoid airbag injuries). If your hands are busy with your phone, it adds precious time to your ability to react to a sudden turn or shift. By keeping your hands free, you are able to react more quickly in a situation where split seconds count.
- Visual distraction: Another compelling reason to leave that text till later is that it takes your eyes off of where they should be: the road. Some driving hazards develop so quickly, such as child running into a lane of traffic, that taking your eyes off the road for even a split second can be the difference between a safe stop and a tragedy.
Three distractions in one
The reason texting while driving so dangerous is that it combines all three of the above distractions at the same time. One distraction is bad enough. Three is a recipe for disaster. Keep yourself and others safe by putting off that text till your vehicle is safely parked.
If you have been injured by a distracted driver, make sure to explore all of the legal options available to you. Your financial well-being may depend on it.