“Texting while driving results in longer response times than even drunken driving. While an unimpaired driver can respond quickly to changes in traffic and begin braking within half a second… [while] a driver who’s texting needs 70.” – Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
Do you feel a sense of loss when you are not checking your messages as well as what your friends are getting up to on Facebook? Furthermore, is the temptation to pick up your phone every time there is a message notification? It does not matter what you are doing: working, driving, relaxing, etc. You are always on your phone!
It goes without saying that allowing yourself to get distracted while driving is very dangerous, and it puts you in a situation where you are likely to cause a motor vehicle accident. These dangers are further illustrated by the latest motor vehicle accident statistics released in the USA. Up to 10% of all teen drivers (15 to 19 years old) involved in fatal crashes were distracted by their mobile phones when they were driving.
Social media addiction
Even though there is no official medical recognition of an addiction to social media, there is still lots of discussion and research taking place around the behaviours associated with excessive use of social media.
According to Leslie Walker in her article on Lifewire.com, “Social networking addiction is a phrase sometimes used to refer to someone spending too much time using Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media – so much so that it interferes with other aspects of daily life.“
The challenge with any addiction is that it almost always has a negative outcome. Unfortunately, this negative effect does not only affect you, it affects the people around you are well. A common example is that of an alcoholic who gets drunk and then beats up his wife and children. In a similar way, if you are distracted by your mobile phone while you are driving, there is a very high risk that you will cause a motor vehicle accident where other road users run the risk of being injured or even killed.
Preventing distractions while driving
The good news is that there are apps available for download that prevent you from driving while you are distracted. Different apps offer different functions. For example, there is an app that, when installed, automatically shuts off some of your phone’s features when it senses that your vehicle is travelling faster than 15 miles/hour.
Another example is an app that has been designed specifically for teen drivers. It blocks all phone calls and messages from being made or received while your teen is driving, and it lets you know when your teen has arrived at his/her destination. As a result, you do not need to worry about whether your teen has arrived safely, or whether something has happened en route.
I believe that it is of vital importance not to get distracted while you are driving. You also do not need to be addicted to social media for your mobile phone to distract you. Therefore, it is a good idea to download one of the available apps to prevent your phone from receiving calls and messages while you are driving.