You likely are upset if you pass a vehicle on the freeway and notice the driver is not looking at the road ahead, but rather texting with their phone. You may have a teenage driver and know that teens are more likely to drive while distracted and more likely to end up in distracted driving accidents than other drivers.

But why is distracted driving so dangerous? And are certain forms of distracted driving more dangerous than others?

Distracted driving dangers

In 2019, 3,142 people died in distracted driving accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 9% of traffic fatalities, distracted driving was a factor. Because of increases in distracted driving, most states, including Pennsylvania, ban texting while driving.

Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving because it includes all three forms of distracted driving. While texting, drivers have:

·       A visual distraction, their eyes are not on the road ahead of them.

·       A manual distraction, both their hands are not on the steering wheel

·       A cognitive distraction, their minds are focused on creating a text, not driving safely

Also, NTSA research shows that while texting, drivers are distracted for six seconds, or long enough to travel the length of a football field while driving 55 miles per hour. A Car & Driver experiment showed that texting and driving is just as dangerous as drinking and driving.

Avoiding distracted driver dangers

If you feel tempted to use your cell phone behind the wheel, you can avoid distracted driving by:

·       Turning your phone off while driving

·       Putting your phone below your driver’s seat, so you don’t feel tempted to use while driving

·       Having a passenger serve as your navigator with a phone GPS while in the car

·       Using an app that prevents you from using your phone while driving

If you see a distracted driver on the road, you can call 911 to report them. You can move away from them in traffic, perhaps taking a different destination route. It’s always better to avoid a distracted driver and avoid becoming a distracted driver than becoming involved a distracted driving accident. No one wants to suffer a serious injury, or cause one to someone else, over reading or answering a text.