Texting and driving is one of the worst habits on Virginia roads. Many people underestimate the dangers it poses, but this is what makes texting behind the wheel so dangerous.
Understanding texting and driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), texting while driving is described as the equivalent of traveling the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour while blindfolded. Given this comparison, it’s no wonder that so many distracted driving motor vehicle accidents involve a texting driver. Even taking one’s eyes off the road for five seconds can lead to disaster and leave people severely injured or even killed.
Texting and driving affects everyone on the road; the NHTSA reported that more than 3,100 people lost their lives due to it and other forms of distracted driving in 2019. Additionally, in spite of the known dangers of texting behind the wheel, people still do it.
Factors that make texting behind the wheel dangerous
Distracted driving takes many forms, but texting involves all three distracted driving types; manual, visual and cognitive. When a person reaches for a cell phone, it causes their hands to leave the steering wheel, which lowers their ability to physically control their vehicle. Their eyes also shift from the road to their phone, which means they can’t see potential dangers around them. Texting while driving also causes a person’s mind to lose focus on their driving and the road as they instead concentrate on composing, reading or sending a text message.
Because texting while driving involves all three distractions, it might just be the most dangerous form of distraction behind the wheel. If a driver is so focused on their text messages, they cannot see or recognize situations where they need to slow down and stop. The driver can veer through a red light or stop sign and get into a crash with another vehicle or object or mow down pedestrians.
Texting behind the wheel is never worth the risk. Putting the phone on do not disturb mode or only using it for absolute emergencies could prevent needless distracted driving accidents.