Q Is texting while driving really such a big deal?
We’ve all been there: you’re taking a leisurely drive up Shell Beach, taking the family for a nice beach day on I-10, just trying to enjoy the ride—then Armageddon breaks out. Your kids start screaming, your phone starts to blow up with texts from your boss, the radio gets all fuzzy because you’re going around a turn without reception and your GPS is telling you to turn left into the Lake. Meanwhile, you also have about 20 cars barreling down the hill in front of you. What do you do?
Although sometimes it may not feel like it, driving is an extremely precise action that requires a delicate balancing act between focus and problem solving. To be a safe driver, you must be able to control your car, be able to see, predict and adjust how other drivers are handling their own vehicles, as well as tune out unnecessary distractions. If for some reason your focus is lost—even for a split second—this delicate balance can topple, resulting in a severe accident.
Common Driver Distractions
Although screaming kids and beautiful scenery play their part in distracting, advancements in technology are rapidly causing an increase in driver inattention. The more convenient technology becomes, the more people seem to focus and rely on it, instead of using their own judgments.
- AM, FM, and satellite radio – These can cause you to pay more attention to flipping through the plethora of stations to find the perfect song, instead of focusing on the road ahead of you.
- Cell Phones – Talking, texting or taking “selfies” while driving, not only requires you to take your hands off the wheel, but also your eyes off the road. Hands-free car accessories are widely available, but you still need to be careful and pay attention to the world around you whilst talking.
- Tablets – Although convenient for looking up directions or keeping your 3-year-old entertained on long car rides, tablets can easily draw your attention and annoyance through peripheral vision.
- Moving billboards – Many of these can now be seen up and down Louisiana highways and are specifically designed to draw your attention, especially since they constantly move and/or flip to various advertisements, forcing you to repeatedly look back at them.
So the next time you’re in the car, put your phone, tablet, or kindle away to help prevent distractions. If for some reason you absolutely must talk or text someone—pull off the road before replying.
Do you agree that technology increases driving distractions? If so, let us and your friends and family know by sharing this article on Facebook or Twitter. Let’s spread the word that no text, conversation, web search or advertisement is worth putting lives in jeopardy.