How to Prevent Texting and Driving Accidents
When was the last time you used your cell phone while behind the wheel? If you're like many drivers in the United States, you probably engage in this activity on a fairly regular basis. In fact, one survey in King County, Washington revealed that more than 75% of drivers used their phones while driving but did not believe their cell phone use would result in an accident.
Unfortunately, it is exactly this kind of mentality that has led to so many vehicle accidents, injuries, and deaths on United States roadways. By having a better understanding of just how serious of a problem distracted driving is and what you can do to avoid it, you'll be doing your part to make roadways safer across the country.
Texting and Driving: A Serious Problem
Consider the following statistics to get a better understanding of just how serious the problem of texting and driving is in the United States:
- sending or reading a text while driving makes you 23 times more likely to be involved in a car accident than a non-distracted driver
- up to 80% of all motor vehicle crashes are caused by some form of distracted driving
- cell phone use is involved in more than 1.6 million auto accidents each year
Dangers of Texting and Driving
When you make the decision to text and drive, you're putting more than just yourself at risk. You're also putting the other passengers in your vehicle at risk, as well as the lives of other motorists sharing the road with you. The same applies to any pedestrians nearby.
One of the biggest dangers of texting while driving is the fact that looking down at your cell phone screen for even a split second can significantly reduce your reaction time. During that split second, the driver in front of you may need to slam on their brakes—and if your eyes are on your phone instead of the road, you may not have time to stop, resulting in a potentially serious rear-ending accident. During that same split second, any number of other dangerous scenarios could occur that may result in injury or death. Even on a residential street with a low speed limit, a small child could run out into the road—not giving you enough time to stop if you're not paying attention.
Even if you're the only vehicle on the road, texting and driving still isn't safe. Taking your eyes off the road for even a few seconds could result in your vehicle veering off the road and into a parked car or other stationary object. By the time you realize your vehicle has veered off its intended path, it could be too late to take corrective action.
Text and Drive Fines and Penalties
In addition to being downright dangerous, getting caught while texting and driving could result in serious fines and penalties. While each state has their own unique texting and driving laws, even a first-time offense could leave you with hundreds of dollars in fines. For more serious offenses or repeat offenses, some states can even take away your license if you're caught texting while driving.
Avoiding a Text and Drive Accident
The good news is that you can easily avoid causing a texting and driving accident by simply not using your cell phone behind the wheel. The best way to avoid the temptation to use your phone is to turn it on silent mode as soon as you get into your car and place it somewhere you won't see it, such as inside a purse or glove box.
Many newer vehicles these days also come equipped with hands-free technology that allows you to read and send text messages using voice commands while driving.
If you have a teen driver, make sure to talk to him or her about the severe dangers of texting and driving. Ask your teen driver to take a pledge to avoid texting, checking social media, or using their cell phones behind the wheel.
Time to Review Your Auto Insurance Coverage
While there are plenty of ways you can avoid causing an accident by texting and driving, there is unfortunately only so much you can do about the actions of other drivers. Defense driving tips may help you avoid an accident caused by a distracted driver, but not always. This is why it's a good idea to review your auto insurance coverage at least once a year and make sure you have adequate protection in case you're involved in an accident with a distracted driver.
This coverage should ideally include not just liability and personal injury protection, but comprehensive and collision coverage for any damage done to your vehicle. With the right auto insurance protection in place, you can get behind the wheel with confidence.