You may understand that distracted driving is dangerous but can still make risky choices while out on the road. For example, you may realize that reading and responding to a text message while on the highway would be dangerous, but just checking to see who sent it or scanning what they said wouldn’t be as dangerous.
After all, it only takes a few seconds to read a message, while it might take substantially longer to type out a response. What you may not realize is even the few seconds you spend reading that message could directly lead to a motor vehicle collision.
You can travel a long way while looking down at your phone
According to federal data about distracted driving, you travel a much bigger distance than you might guess when you look down to read that text message. If you spend just five seconds looking at your phone while traveling at 55 mph, you will go approximately the length of a football field without looking at the street in front of you.
You won’t notice in time if an animal or a child darts into the road or the driver in front of you slams on their brakes. Additionally, you will have a cognitive hangover even after you put your phone down that will last for nearly half a minute. Your ability to refocus on traffic conditions isn’t instant, and it takes time for your brain to focus on the tasks involved with safe driving.
Every time you look down at your phone, you distract your brain and put yourself at risk of missing major changes in front of you.
Distracted drivers are everywhere
Once you understand how dangerous reading a text could be, you may make more of an effort to ignore your phone while out on the road. However, there is no guarantee that the people sharing the streets with you are as responsible as you are. If you get hurt by someone distracted at the time of the wreck, you may be able to file a claim against their insurance or even take them to civil court.
Being able to identify possible warning signs of distracted driving in other vehicles and knowing your rights if it affects you will improve your safety on the road.