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Distracted Driving: Know the Risks

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Distracted Driving

Know the Risks

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Our phones can do pretty much everything for us these days: communicate with friends and family, Google anything, see what’s new on social media, give directions and more, as you’re well aware. But one thing they’re not great at is removing distractions. It’s so easy to be using a phone for GPS and then see a text message come through and feel the need to respond. We all feel like we can multitask, but the truth is, driving while distracted—and especially while texting—is seriously dangerous.

An article from Car Talk puts it this way: “The odds of crashing while texting are eight times higher than driving without distraction. That is twice the crash risk of a drunk driver (at a blood alcohol level of .08)! . . . [I]f you text while driving, you will eventually cause a crash” (cartalk.com/content/science-distracted-driving).

The article also shares that even talking on your cell phone while driving multiplies your crash risk by four. That makes it almost even with drunk driving in terms of crash risk.

Surprisingly, using an earpiece or headphones doesn’t mean you’re reducing your risk of a crash. The article adds, “There is no safety advantage for hands-free cell phones (both hand-held and hands-free cell phones are associated with a fourfold increase in the crash risk). Despite the laws in several states, research that has compared hand-held and hands-free cell phones does not find a safety advantage for one over the other.”

I remember when I first started driving—I was constantly nervous and could hardly even have the radio on, only when I was in an area where I knew my way around! But it doesn’t take very long before driving becomes somewhat second nature. It feels easy to daydream, have a conversation with someone in the car, or sing along to my favorite song while driving now. And that’s what makes it easy to think that distractions aren’t a big deal. But it only takes a split second for all that to change. 

Know the risks. And then make the easy choice to silence those distractions: put your phone on Do Not Disturb, save the phone conversation for later, wait until you’re home to text back a friend. It’s worth it. Not only could you save your own life, but you could be protecting someone else. And caring for others even when it inconveniences us is what our walk as Christians is all about.