Are you guilty of texting behind the wheel? Though we often think of texting while on the road as a young person’s problem, a new study focused on parents found that two out of three read texts while driving.
Cause For Concern
Our kids are counting on us to keep them safe. As the adult in the car, we should know that texting and driving is very dangerous. Yet, 2/3 of parents read texts while they are driving, and about half are composing their own – with their kids in the backseat. This is quite surprising to me. I’m a parent of four kids – and I would never text and drive. I know my kids are always watching and learning from me. Not only would I be more likely to get into an accident, but I would also be teaching my kids that texting and driving is acceptable, which it is not.
Who Are These Parents?
About half of the parents in the study were millennials about 33 years old. The other half were older parents about 44 years old. The one thing they had in common was at least one child under the age of 14. So you may be thinking, ‘ah, it’s the millennials causing all of these accidents!’ Not so fast. While millennials were more likely to report distracted driving, one group didn’t stick out as getting into more accidents than the other.
How Do We Curb Distracted Driving?
- Do Not Disturb While Driving – most phones now have an option to autoreply to text messages and silence notifications you receive while driving letting the recipient know you’re busy at the wheel and can’t look at your phone until you reach your destination.
- Be Aware Of Distance Traveled – It takes five seconds or less to send a text message. That may sound pretty quick, but if you’re traveling at a speed of 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field.
- Remove The Temptation – They say ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ Keep your phone out of reach so you won’t be tempted to use it while driving.
The bottom line is that you should be doing only one thing behind the wheel: driving. You need to be present and fully engaged for safe driving. It is likely you’re driving alongside distracted drivers, and two distracted drivers are now, more than ever, likely to cross paths. The U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that nine people die every day from distracted driving.
Remember, it’s not just about your life. It’s about your kids’ lives and the lives of other people that you would be putting at risk. So, next time you’re urged to reach for your phone while driving, ask yourself, is that text worth it?