Although texting while driving is illegal in California, some residents still do it. There are significant dangers associated with the habit.
Why is texting and driving such a dangerous combination?
Texting while driving is dangerous due to the requirements involved in using a cellphone to compose or read a text. When you handle your cellphone while driving, it means you’re shifting your eyes off the road and at least one hand off the steering wheel. Your mind also wanders elsewhere to your text messages.
Even if you quickly glance at your phone to read a one-line text message, it means your focus is off the road for a few seconds. However, even five seconds of distraction can result in a serious accident. You might run through a red light or stop sign or hit another vehicle or even worse, a pedestrian. Traveling 55 miles per hour in a car for only five seconds is equivalent to traveling the length of a football field.
What are the different types of distracted driving?
Texting while driving involves all three distracted driving types. Anything that causes your attention to sway from your driving is considered a distraction. When you pick up a cell phone to read or compose a text, you are thoroughly distracted. Your eyes are off the road, which is a visual distraction.
Your hands, or at least one of them, are off the steering wheel when you pick up the phone to text. This is a manual distraction.
The third type of distraction is cognitive. When you text while driving, your mind is suddenly focused on something other than the road and your driving.
Because texting while driving involves all three distraction types, it makes it very dangerous. Instead of reaching for your cellphone, you should only use it in a hands-free manner and rely on your car’s automated system to read a text to you and your voice to reply.