According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,166 people died in distracted driving accidents in 2017. Grooming, eating and reaching for objects all lead to distracted driving accidents, but one of the largest culprits is mobile phone usage. Travelers offers information to help you better understand the dangers of texting and driving.
Replying to a text message while driving at a speed of 55 mph is like driving blindfolded for the length of a football field. Answering a text takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds on average, covering about 100 yards when driving at 55 mph.
At any given moment in the day, over 650,000 people on the road in the United States are using phones or electronic devices while driving.
It isn’t safer to talk on the phone with a hands-free device while driving. According to the National Safety Council, a driver’s field of vision narrows by about 50 percent when they’re driving while talking on the phone – even when using a hands-free device like Bluetooth. This is because the mind can only process so much information at one time.
How much more likely are you to get in an accident when texting on your phone? Much more. Texting is one of the most distracting things you can do while driving, increasing your risk of an accident up to 23 times.
While people assume that young drivers are the most likely to use a mobile device while driving, statistics show that isn’t necessarily true. Drivers in their 20s account for about ¼ of fatal distracted driving accidents and the other ¾ are from other age groups.
So what can you do to help curb distracted driving? Set a good example by ignoring your phone when you’re behind the wheel. Save grooming and eating for after you arrive at your destination. Pull over if you need to make a phone call or retrieve an object that requires you to reach for it. Additionally, speak up when you see others do it and empower them to be fully present when driving.