Texting While Driving: How Dangerous is the Epidemic?

Mar 2015

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South Africa is one of the countries plagued by the highest rate of road accidents. There has been some improvement but distracted driving still remains a major reason for automobile crashes. It’s remarkable how, despite awareness, mobile communication (texting while driving) continues to result in injuries and even loss of life.

The Reason Behind

According to one agency, texting and driving at the same time is more dangerous than intoxicated driving. The Transport Research Laboratory in London found that drivers under the influence of texting had slower response times than those high on marijuana.
With the device practically ruling our lives, who can resist the chance to not read and send back text messages? Wasn’t that supposed to be a quick – and harmless – activity? It’s literally instinctive.
Yes, on average, it takes as long as 4.6 seconds to text. It may be okay to do so when you are in the comfort zone of a café, your lounge, or any other building. On the road, however, it increases the inevitability of a crash by 23%. To simplify it, these ‘mere 4.6s’ are equal to driving the entire length of a football field, blindfolded and at a speed of 55mph.
Whether it’s web surfing, talking/listening on call, taking selfies, even reaching for the device or as much as glancing at it from behind the wheel, drivers try to justify their actions. But they can do better than increasing the following distance, believing that reading is safer than composing/sending at least, texting only at a red light. It’s a problem they have to deal with.

What You Can Do About It

While state laws pertaining to cell phone usage, applying to all drivers, have found support and even been put into practice by some countries, you can take some steps on your own too.
Parents, for one, can lead with example. If they demonstrate good behavior while driving, it’s likely their children are going to adopt it. They can also give explicit instructions to not use the wireless tech as they drive. Tell them that if they do need to talk or text, they should always pull over to a safe side. Another interesting thing is to be pro-tech. Install a drivecam to monitor your kid’s driving activity in real time.
Texting while driving is a dangerous habit that some people have. While they may claim to multitask safely, it can – and has – resulted in mild to serious injuries. It’s an illusion, which needs to be curbed with measures like setting good example for your teens and tech that enables you to keep a check.