The holiday shopping season is in full swing not just here in Rhode Island but all over the world. Currently, we are a week away from Christmas and right now is a good time to touch on the importance of good driving habits and not being tempted to text and drive.
Most experienced drivers understand that the fewer accidents you have, the less you are likely to pay for auto insurance in Rhode Island. Rhode Island drivers, despite this, continually risk their money and their lives by texting while behind the wheel. There has been a lot of controversy about texting in recent years, but the question remains – is it really dangerous to text while you are There are so many places we need to go, whether it’s a school Christmas program, shopping, office party, visiting relatives, or just a drive to see Christmas lights; we seem to spend so much time in our car. Now is a great time to remind ourselves to focus when we are driving and eliminate distractions.
Every year, half a million people are injured or killed in traffic-related deaths due to texting while driving. A recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association found that the use of smart phones by pedestrians and drivers have contributed to an increase in people killed nationally after being struck by vehicles.
To prevent texting while driving, follow these tips:
- Put your phone out of reach
- Turn your phone off or put it on silent while driving so you are not tempted to answer it
- Speak up when you are in the car with someone who uses a cell phone while driving – ask if you can do it for them, or if it can wait
- Change your voicemail message to reflect that you are either away from your phone or driving, and that you’ll call back when you can do so safely
- If you are talking to someone who you know is driving, tell him/her to hang up and call you later
- Use an app to block incoming texts or calls. Some apps can send an auto response back, letting the sender know that you are driving and will respond when you are parked
- If you are going to use your phone for navigational purposes, make sure that it is mounted to the dashboard.
- Make a commitment to not use your phone while driving
When drivers are texting, they can be 23 times more likely to get into a crash. Keep your attention focused on the task of driving at all times to avoid an accident.
Young drivers are at the greatest risk of texting and driving. Some researchers believe this is because inexperienced drivers are the most likely to overestimate their ability to multitask.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three forms of distraction.
Furthermore, sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, long enough to cover a football field while driving at 55 mph.
The CDC says distracted driving causes 3 impairments.
What are the types of distraction?
There are three main types of distraction:
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving
Washington was the first state to pass a texting ban in 2007. Currently, 47 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. Of the 3 states without an all driver texting ban, 2 prohibit text messaging by novice drivers.
An accident can occur in a matter of seconds. Being distracted by texting can deprive you of the time you need to avoid a collision. Putting aside the cost of auto insurance, Rhode Island drivers tempted to text should ask themselves – “Is this message really worth my life?”
Keep your attention focused on the road, and avoid using a cell phone. Remember that life is precious, and we want to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe especially during the holiday season.
One smart thing you can do when you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle is to focus on driving and stay focused on the road. You’ll be safer and ensure the safety of other passengers, drivers and pedestrians.