A survey published in January on texting while driving revealed some alarming statistics. Young drivers from Kentucky and all across the nation were asked various questions about their awareness about texting behind the wheel. The results were surprising.
The Zebra, an online servicer that provides consumers with car insurance comparisons and other auto products, initiated the survey. Drivers aged 18-24 were asked various questions about texting while driving and associated dangers.
Roughly 36 percent of respondents admitted to texting when they got behind the wheel. Further, more than 50 percent of those surveyed believed that driving under the influence of alcohol was much more dangerous than texting while driving. Such a perception, however, could not be more wrong. In fact, statistics show that a driver is six times more likely to cause a car crash due to texting behind the wheel than driving while intoxicated.
Sadly, as misnomers about the safe nature of using your cell phone while driving continue, so too will distracted driving accidents all across the country.
Changing the way our culture sees cellphone use in vehicles is what’s really needed to mitigate distracted driving accidents. But how?
Changing our behavior
Unfortunately, placing our smartphones on the seat next to us while we drive is simply not enough. Our addiction is immense. Our phones are at our fingertips at all times. We immediately grab for them at the ding of a Facebook status update, text from a friend, or important email.
But one way to combat such behavior is to put them TRULY out of sight after we enter a car.
How about the glove compartment?
Placing them in, for instance, the glove compartment where they are hard for us to reach while driving is one idea. We could even go a step further and consider locking that glove compartment, particularly for those of us who may be too tempted to reach for it while stopped at a red light.
Since more cars come equipped with a 911 touch-button in the event of an emergency, this idea may not be as radical as many may think.
Putting this into practice is likely to be tough at first—like most things. But, after a while, our brains will ultimately adapt.
Many people pushed back against the use of seatbelts in vehicles years ago, but today, such a practice is automatic and instinctive to most of us. Why can’t we train ourselves to put away our cell phones the same way?
The more we all embrace the importance of keeping an eye on the road to protect ourselves, our passengers and others on the road, the likelihood that the high percentage of distracted driving deaths attributed to cell phone use every year will continue to, hopefully, decline.