Texting while driving – the recklessness of being distracted

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Picture this – you are driving home after work, a bit tired after the day spent at the office. It is your regular routine, you know the route by heart. Even so, you are paying attention to the road ahead, noticing the subpar driving of most people. And then your phone beeps.

What do you do in that situation? Can you resist the temptation of picking up? What if it is an emergency? Well, of course, you are not texting back, but a glance will not hurt, right? Your eyes dart back and forth between the road and your phone. At that point, you have already fallen prey to the bane of drivers everywhere – distracted driving.

How comfort and ease made driving more dangerous

Here is the thing – we love comfort. There is no denying that. We love warming our seats up, we enjoy our cruise control, we do not even think about driving as an engaging activity. It has become way too comfortable for our own good. We get bored by it. That is why the music blasts through the speakers in our car. Or a podcast, if we are more educationally oriented.

But still, we have fallen prey to the presumption that driving is no longer an activity that requires much of our attention. So we pick up our phones confident enough that nothing bad will happen. After all, how can a glance hurt? You will just send an emoji, that is no big deal. Just one press of a button. Your eyes are on the road anyway.

The paradox is that we all think distracted driving is bad. We all claim to never do it. Yet, we always excuse ourselves. And it always goes along the same lines – one glance, one emoji, one simple response. And then one mishap.

The data is in – where are you on it?

Did you know that a quarter of all car accidents have to do with the use of phones? And about 50% of us admit to have used our phones while driving. You are free to look up more morbid statistics on texting while driving. The information will not make you happy at all.

But the problem with statistics, in general, is that we are not good at picturing numbers. A few zeros and percentages mean nothing to us. We are terrified of speaking in front of even ten people, yet we think fifty likes on Facebook are not enough. Numbers are cold and too a fair degree – meaningless.

Of course, we can slip into a whole array of philosophical arguments here. However, they are not important. It is clear that the majority of drivers get distracted by phones. Or at least have been at some point. Can we battle that? Can you just stop yourself from looking at your phone? Perhaps the problem is deeper than that.

Why do we get distracted by our phones?

Humans are complex things – more complex than cell phones for sure. And as such we cannot just say that we can eliminate distracted driving by simply not looking at our phones. Yet there is something interesting about that little device.

Perhaps in the core of our distraction lies an addiction. Research in psychology points out a very peculiar suggestion – our brain is terribly prone to dopamine addiction. And we can get to this through a lot of activities, even exercise. And of course, phones as well.

So when our smartphone beeps, it is like a slot machine. We feel the excitement. Something new, something sweet. Have we won or have we lost? We just cannot help ourselves – it is too hard to not give in and take a little peek. But the more we peek, the stronger the connection gets. We reinforce our pathological behavior.

The way out of distracted driving

As sad as it is, we have to understand we are all humans. And all humans make mistakes. There is no magic switch that will just make all of us not use our phones when driving. Still, that does not mean there is no solution.

For one, we can look forward to autonomous vehicles. Sure, you may be a bit skeptical now and with good reason. But five years down the line, what then? At some point we will have to admit it – driverless cars will account for fewer accidents. We are not far from that even now.

However, we understand that such technologies do not fare well with everyone. Some concerns are to be had, of course. So we go to the alternative solution – assisted driving. Even now there are systems that detect probable collisions. Technologies exist that can track whether or not you are staying within your lane. Some vehicles even now can automatically hit the brakes if an object is detected ahead.

Without a doubt, there have been errors with some systems. Tesla easily comes to mind. But it is not obvious that such downfalls are more likely than those, produced by humans. Should we look forward to the future then? Or shall we approach the issues from another side?

The straight solution – driving less

As it was mentioned, it is unreasonable to think that all people can withstand the temptation of looking at their phones. Even if you are responsible, our circumstances vary so much that picking up the phone at the wrong time is never excluded. Perhaps you are waiting for an important text. Or your wife is in the delivery room. It does not even have to be that extreme of an example.

Here is an interesting proposition – the longer you stay in your vehicle, the more likely you are to pick up your phone. Why? For starters, you become more inattentive, tired and unfocused. These are all contributing factors to distraction. Because not picking your phone requires some restraint. But you cannot keep that up if you are not focused.

So driving on the highway for a couple of hours increases these chances. That is why we should hit the question straight on – are there situations when you may opt out of driving? I am not talking about daily driving. I cannot expect you to give up your vehicle and start commuting. But longer trips are not that uncommon. What can you do then?

Shipping your vehicle – the easy fix

The best way to avoid the dangers of distracted driving is to minimize the situations where you may fall prey to it. That naturally leads us to car transport and its benefits. Trusting professionals with shipping your vehicle over a longer distance may indeed be a great alternative. You cannot be texting while driving if you are not… driving.  And because longer trips make you more likely do it, it is then when you should consider auto transport.

Do you have to drive for more than 200 miles? Maybe you have bought a vehicle in another state and now want to drive it home? Or you are moving to a faraway place? Whatever the case is, keeping your attention on the road during long trips is almost impossible.

Because of all these things, you should do yourself a favor – avoid the risk of distraction altogether. It is not much more expensive than driving, all things considered, and it is surely safer.

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About the Author:

Atanas Nikolov is a creative with an affinity for psychology and science. He believes the universe is a wonderful place to explore, and no universe is greater than the one inside ourselves. He enjoys a good debate, and can always bring an alternative viewpoint to the table. He also loves reading fiction and poetry. It is highly likely that he writes some as well, but these rumors have not been proven yet.
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