Texting while driving is a growing trend, quickly becoming a national epidemic and one of the country’s top killers. Drivers assume they can handle texting while driving and remain safe, but the numbers don’t lie.
Related article: 10 Things to do After a Car Accident
We don’t have conclusive statistics in South Africa yet, but in the USA texting while driving causes:
- 1,600,000 accidents per year – National Safety Council
- 330,000 injuries per year – Harvard Center for Risk Analysis Study
- 11 teen deaths EVERY DAY – Ins. Institute for Highway Safety Fatality Facts
- Nearly 25% of ALL car accidents
More dangerous than drunk driving
Texting while driving is about 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated and it is the number one driving distraction reported by teen drivers. Texting while driving makes you 23 times more likely to crash as it slows your brake reaction speed by 18% . It is the same as driving blind for 5 seconds at a time – National Hwy Transportation Safety Admin
You might think you can handle reading a harmless text while driving but tests have shown otherwise. A study performed compared braking results between normal driving, driving while reading a text, while writing a text and under the influence of several alcoholic drinks. The results threw up some surprises with texting worsening reaction times by 600% compared to someone impaired by alcohol. Reading texts was actually more dangerous than writing them.
Even the best braking results for texting while driving still resulted in travelling an extra 1.3 meters than normal, which can be the difference between a near miss and a solid hit resulting in possibly injury or at least an expensive trip to the panel beater for your car.
This means while you’re reading that text that’s just come flashed through on your phone and trying to understand the joke, your brain isn’t overly conscious of the fact that the car in front of you has had to come to a complete stop. You know what happens next.
Of course, there’s every chance you might have texted or talked on the phone while driving many times before and nothing happened. Count yourself lucky. By continuing this practice you’re increasing the chances of being in an accident several hundred percent – those aren’t good odds.