Texting while Driving: The Danger of Taking Your Eyes off the Road

Automobile safety has come a long way since seatbelts. From side air bags to collapsible steering columns, safety has always been a great barometer for automobile innovation.

But despite better safety measures and more stringent driving laws, car accidents are still more common on the road than ever. The culprit of this logic-defying statistic: texting while driving.

Texting while driving is a growing safety concern among motorists, passengers and pedestrians alike. It forces drivers to take their eyes away from the road and to the screen of your phone. And while offenders might argue that it only takes a few seconds to read or send a text, it also takes a few seconds to rear end the vehicle in front of you while speeding at 60 MPH.

The Statistics Don’t Lie

Texting while driving has been such a huge concern in developed countries that various public service announcements have been produced in an effort to inform the public of the hazards of texting on the road. Unfortunately, the statistics are showing that the effort may already be a little too late.

The National Security Council reports that 1.6 million deaths every year are caused by texting, taking up nearly a quarter of all reported car accidents.

The Institute of Highway Safety even attributes texting as the cause of death for an average of 11 teenagers every single day. In fact, studies have pointed out that texting while driving is so dangerous that it is six times more likely to cause a car accident than driving under the influence of alcohol.
That last statistic may be hard to believe, but the biggest cause of concern isn’t that the driver is incapable of maintaining control of the car. It’s that texting keeps our eyes away from road and on our phone.

The Three-Second Rule

The three second rule dictates that a car needs to be three seconds away from the vehicle ahead of it.

This gives the driver ample time to avoid the lead car should it suddenly brake.
This is because the average motorist needs at least three seconds to be able to properly react to an oncoming obstacle. The point of the three second rule is not necessarily the distance we keep from other vehicles, but it’s the time we give ourselves to correct our course in case of an emergency.

By texting, we severely limit our reaction time. While it takes three seconds to react to a high-speed collision, studies show that the average texting session lasts at least five seconds long. That’s a good two seconds longer than the average window of reaction.

It doesn’t matter how far we are from the next car. If we’re not able to keep our eyes on the road, we aren’t amply prepared to avoid an oncoming collision.

Drivers guilty of texting while driving argue that the texts they tend to are of the utmost importance. But so is keeping the road safe from distracted drivers. If you really need to text while driving, make sure to pull over first and make the road safer for everyone.