What Makes Texting and Driving so Dangerous?

Young man texting and driving

It seems the majority of distracted driving safety campaigns aim to stop people from texting and driving. With so many different kinds of distractions out there, you might wonder why this is the main thing they focus on.

What exactly makes texting and driving so dangerous? Let’s find out.

A Triple-Threat Distraction

Distracted driving isn’t any specific thing. It’s a combination of three behavioral patterns. These are:

  • Manual Distractions: Taking your hands off the wheel
  • Visual Distractions: Taking your eyes off the road
  • Cognitive Distractions: Taking your mind away from driving

Texting and driving isn’t just any distraction, it is a “triple threat,” one of the most dangerous kinds. A triple threat means that it is a single action that includes all three types of distracted driving. You take your hands off the wheel to write a message, you look at the screen to make sure your message is correct, and you expend mental focus formulating what you want to say and putting it into words.

Even texting by voice dictation isn’t safe. According to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, drivers who used voice dictation had delayed reaction times that were identical to drivers texting with their hands. Moreover, the research suggests that someone voice dictating tends to look at their phone or the nearest microphone rather than the road, meaning the visual distraction is about the same regardless of the method.

A Constant Reminder

Even if you don’t respond to the message right away, having your cell phone within reach is a constant distraction. Everyone is susceptible to cognitive distractions brought on by hearing a notification ping. When you hear that distinctive text chime or the pop of a Facebook comment, you’re bound to start thinking about the message, even if you can’t see it. That’s just one more cognitive distraction that can strike at any moment.

Given how much cell phones can affect your driving, it’s best to turn them off or put them out of reach until you reach your destination. If you need your phone for GPS, you might want to put it in “Do Not Disturb” mode so you’re not distracted by notifications.

If you were injured by a distracted driver, we can help. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Bryan car accident lawyer from The Payne Law Group, don’t hesitate to contact our firm at (979) 300-7406 or send us an email.

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