We all love our smartphones, but this doesn’t mean you can’t put them down from time to time. In recent years, texting while driving has become one of the leading causes of all car accidents in the United States. While sending or reading a simple text message might seem harmless, taking your eyes and focus from the road can easily lead to an auto accident and injuries. Next time you receive a text while driving, remember that it can wait.
Here, we’re taking a closer look at the rise of texting while driving accidents and discussing ways that you can help prevent these types of crashes from happening. Remember, when you’re behind the wheel, it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep our roads safe.
What Is Texting While Driving?
As the name suggests, texting while driving is the act of reading, writing, or sending text messages while operating a motor vehicle. In addition to text messages, this type of distracted driving also includes sending emails, looking at photos, or surfing the web from your mobile device while driving.
Texting while driving falls under the broader category of distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving is “any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking” or any other activity that keeps you from focusing on driving.
Texting While Driving Statistics
To better understand this type of distracted driving (and to help conceptualize the full scope of the issue) here are some important texting while driving statistics:
- Cell phone use causes 1.6 million crashes each year.
- 25 percent of all car accidents in the United States are caused by texting while driving.
- Almost 390,000 injuries are caused each year by texting while driving.
- Texting while driving is more likely to cause a crash than driving under the influence.
- Most drivers support a ban on texting while driving.
As you can see from these statistics, texting while driving is a serious issue. Just imagine how many crashes could be avoided and injuries could be prevented by simply putting your cell phone away?
Why Are There So Many Texting While Driving Accidents?
It’d be simple to just point to the staggering rise in smartphone users as the only reason that there is such a rise in texting while driving accidents. After all, this does make sense. With more people using smartphones, it’s only natural for there to be more smartphone-related auto accidents. However, this isn’t the complete story.
Age and experience also play roles in the rise of texting while driving accidents. For any parent with a child or teenager, you know how much they love their smartphones. At times, it can seem impossible to pull them away from texting and chatting. While this is common, it can become dangerous when these habits persist when you’re behind the wheel. In fact, data shows that teens are four times as likely as adults to be in a texting while driving accident. Since teens have far less experience behind the wheel, they may not be able to correct or recover from being distracted momentarily while driving.
Additionally, our hectic lives bear some of the blame for texting while driving accidents. Nowadays, it seems like there simply isn’t enough time, and some people make up for this by trying to multitask while driving to work or back home. While any type of distracted driving is hazardous, texting while driving is especially dangerous as it takes your eyes off the road for a longer amount of time. No matter how busy you are, it’s never worth the risk to answer that text message. It can wait.
How To Prevent Texting While Driving
It’s the responsibility of every driver on the road to prevent accidents of any kind—including texting while driving.
Here are some ways that everyone can help prevent these accidents:
1. Don’t Use Your Phone While Driving
Safe driving begins with you behind the wheel. Never use your phone, especially for texting, while operating a vehicle. Taking your eyes from the road for even a few seconds could have serious consequences. Even talking on your phone can distract you from the road. Several states, such as California, even have laws prohibiting drivers from using their phones while driving.
2. Educate Your Friends And Family
You shouldn’t avoid talking about safe driving, whether it’s with your friends or family. Many drivers, especially younger, inexperienced ones, may simply not understand the true risk of distracted driving. Come from a place of caring and honesty and educate them about texting while driving accidents.
3. Pullover If Needed
If you do receive an urgent phone call or text message, you can always simply find a safe place to pull over and answer. While this may seem burdensome or unnecessary, it’s much smarter than taking the risk of taking your eyes off the road.
4. Safe Driving Apps
Perhaps ironically, you can now use your smartphone to help reduce distracted driving and texting while driving accidents. Download apps like DriveMode, EverDrive, or TextDrive that all work to prevent you from being distracted from your phone while driving. Even better—most of these apps are free.
Conclusion – How To Prevent Texting While Driving Accidents
Our smartphones are truly amazing devices. Fitting in your front pocket, your smartphone allows you to connect with the world, keep in touch with friends and family, and even create and innovate with an endless array of digital content. But, like any other technology, there’s a time and a place for using your smartphone. When you’re behind the wheel, you need to simply not use your phone.
It takes all of us to keep the roads safe. Always try to avoid using your phone while driving and never respond to a text message. However, if you are involved in a texting while driving accident, call a lawyer who specializes in these types of cases. They can help you understand your rights, and if warranted, receive financial compensation.