Despite billboards and media ads warning people of the dangers of texting and driving, motorists continue to use their cell phones while behind the wheel. In 2017 alone, there were 34,247 automobile crashes and 37,166 car accidents deaths in the United States. Approximately 2,935 of those accidents and 3,166 of those deaths are directly attributed to distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Regardless, nearly 600,000 drivers use their cellphones at any given moment. How are cell phones dangerous and what can people do to reduce the risk of becoming involved in an accident.
Using a cellphone while driving involves three types of distracted driving. This includes the following:
- Cognitive distraction: concentrating on something other than the road
- Manual distraction: taking your hands off the steering wheel
- Visual distraction: taking your eyes off the road
In order to manipulate the cellphone, you must take your hands off the steering wheel and eyes off the road to scroll through your emails, dial a phone number or compose a text. Furthermore, when you are engaged in these tasks, you are not focused on the road at all.
According to the National Safety Council, the human brain is incapable of fully concentrating on two tasks simultaneously. Instead, the brain switches back and forth between one task and the other. This leaves moments in time where the brain is not focused on the road at all.
Due to these dangers and the imminent risk of getting involved in a deadly car accident, it is best to avoid using any type of cellphone while driving. Pay attention to the road in front of you and you will be able to react and respond to unexpected hazards that may come up.