Texting has become a primary means of communication in a society that uses mobile phones for a large percentage of daily tasks and information sharing. Unfortunately, texting while behind the wheel of a car can lead to disaster. Despite the fact that many states have laws prohibiting texting while driving, the practice is far more common than you'd think. Here's a look at what you should know about texting and driving to help keep yourself safe behind the wheel and avoid an auto accident.
How Common Is Texting and Driving?
Recent statistics indicate that a tenth of all licensed driving adults admit to having text conversations or actively engaging in texting or emailing while driving. In addition, statistics indicate that nearly a quarter of all high school students who are licensed to drive have admitted to the same behavior.
Is Texting and Driving Really a Big Deal?
Texting is a distraction when you're behind the wheel. Distracted driving causes more than 3,000 fatalities and 400,000 injuries every year, making it a serious safety concern. Just like glancing away from the road for an instant to check on a child in the backseat, looking at your cell phone to send a text can interfere with your ability to spot hazards on the road or slowed traffic. Texting while driving is particularly dangerous, because it draws your vision, attention and hands away from what you should be paying attention to.
What Can You Do to Be Safe?
Never pick up your cell phone while you're driving. If you need to send or reply to a text message, pull over somewhere safe before you do so. Make sure that all of the licensed drivers in your family, teens included, commit to the same thing. The more proactive you are about understanding the risks of texting and driving and the more you reinforce how unsafe it is, the less likely your kids are to do it.
Consider having all of the household's licensed drivers sign a digital media contract in which everyone pledges not to text, email or place phone calls while driving. Then, hold everyone accountable and be responsible yourself.
If you are involved in a car accident where you or a loved one was texting and driving, the first thing you should do is reach out to an auto accident attorney right away. He or she can help you to protect yourself and your loved ones in case it goes to court.