A day in the life of a typical New Yorker is non-stop from the moment we wake up until the moment we hit the pillow. This forces us to multi-task in order to use our time as efficiently as possible. Often times, we combine these activities with our time driving. It’s not farfetched to say we can all remember a time where we have eaten, groomed ourselves or used our mobile device behind the wheel. We use our cell phones for everything, from shopping, to playing music and staying connected to those we care about. Reliance on these devices is at an all-time high, thus posing a bigger question about their use while behind the wheel.
One thing is certain—distracted driving of any kind can be very dangerous; in 2016 alone 3,450 lives were lost due to distracted driving. These accidents are overwhelmingly due to cell phone use (26% of all crashes in 2014). Obviously, this behavior is increasingly common in millennials, who are younger and riskier drivers to begin with. In 2015, 42% of teens admitted to using their phone while driving.
In the moment, texting and driving, or having a phone conversation on the road may seem harmless, but, in actuality, this practice puts not only you in danger, but everyone sharing the road with you as well. In the mere 5 seconds it takes for you to read or respond to a text, you likely already traveled the length of a football field (at 55 MPH) without even looking! According to DMV this practice creates a trifecta of distraction by taking your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and focus off of your surroundings. Beside the physical risks, texting and driving is against the law and highly punishable. Depending on the case you can receive: A hefty fine, suspension/points on your license, higher auto insurance rates, or even jail time.
Ultimately, this is a bad habit that can be broken with time and dedication, and it can be compensated for. Though nothing is as safe as completely focused driving, most cars have a hands-free option and you can connect your phone via Bluetooth and control it through your vehicle. You can also be proactive and let those you are in contact with know you are going to be driving and will not be available for a while. If you really can’t control yourself, there are also plenty of apps for your smartphone that will restrict use of the internet or block notifications while you are driving. If it’s an important situation and you need to answer immediately, pull over to the side of the road.
Our cell phones make us constantly available, but ask yourself, is the risk really worth the reward? We are certain whoever is vying for your attention will be much happier knowing you are safe and well than having to hear you were badly or fatally injured in responding to their message. The road is an unpredictable landscape to begin with, so there is no need to add variables that will only increase the risk.