The Dangers of Distracted Driving
“Bet your window’s rolled down and your hair’s pulled back
And I bet you got no idea you’re going way too fast
You’re trying not to think about what went wrong
Trying not to stop ‘til you get where you goin’
You’re trying to stay awake so I bet you turn on the radio…”
-Highway Don’t Care, Tim McGraw (feat. Taylor Swift and Keith Urban)
We’ve all been there. You get in your car, turn on the ignition and hit the road. The radio is on lightly, but you’re focused, alert and aware. Then a flash of light from your phone appears, the internal struggle begins and curiosity temporary takes the wheel.
Do you pick up? You have to see who it is, right? It could be something important, after all!
And this is where the problems start. You’re distracted, taken off the road while still remaining on the pavement, and as the Tim McGraw song goes, the highway doesn’t have emotions, doesn’t care what happens next, and doesn’t care what happens to you, making you the only one in true control of your destiny behind the wheel.
Texting Teen Driver Statistics: Numbers Worth a Notification
Think it couldn’t happen to you? According to teen driver statistics compiled by Westfield Insurance, car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens.
This is particularly true for those:
- Between the ages of 15-20
- Who are riding with similar aged individuals
- Driving on high-speed roads
- Traveling without a seatbelt
- Have consumed alcohol
- Are in a heightened emotional state
- Or, are otherwise under the influence of a mental distraction
Any of these distraction, on their own or combined, impact a driver’s ability to concentrate fully on the road ahead.
When it comes to cell phones and texting in particular, teens consider text messages to be a pretty big distraction. Of those surveyed:
- 37 percent noted text messages as incredibly distracting
- 19 percent admitted to texting and driving regularly
Mainstream Media Takes a Stand to Bring Awareness
Even worse, texting and driving is a widespread issue—not just something to watch out for in your teen years, but one that spans across demographics and across the nation, leaving accidents and lost lives in its wake. If you haven’t noticed by the launch of prominent campaigns—the world is waking up to the epidemic.
Is the content of any text message worth a lost life?
As incidents appear more and more each day, mainstream media and law enforcement professionals have begun to take a stand, hoping to bring awareness to a problem that can turn a harmless text into tragedy faster than you can hit send.
To help, mobile company AT&T recently launched their “It Can Wait” campaign, which includes messaging on all of their cell phone boxes, a website of resources to help spread the word and the heart-breaking documentary, “From One Second to the Next.”
Similarly, Parkview Trauma Centers launched, “Don’t Text and Drive—Let’s save some lives," and Tim McGraw released the video for the aforementioned song Highway Don’t Care (see video below), showcasing the tragic events that can occur should you decide to drive distracted.
Show You Care: Quick Tips to Drive Safe
So, what can you do? Luckily, the answer is pretty simple: don’t pick up the phone, and don’t drive if you feel you cannot focus at full mental capacity. If you need to go somewhere, but don’t feel all the way safe to drive, ask a friend or family member to drive you instead. Take precautions and think before you buckle up.
And when that light goes off the next time you are driving, simply let it go, remain focused, and just think—it can wait.
Through example, you can affect the habits of your friends and family. Encourage them to do the same, either through your own actions, or accompanied by verbal reminders.
What steps will you take to drive safely and remain focused behind the wheel? Let us know in the comment section below.
Want to learn more about safe driving habits? Westfield Insurance is happy to offer a free, condensed version of the Honda Teen Defensive Driving Program, brought to you by The Mid-Ohio School as part of Road Safe Teens on Saturday, November 2. For more information and to register to attend, click here.