Would you drive on a highway blindfolded? Of course not. However, if you text while driving 55 mph on a highway, you are essentially doing just that.
Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field while blindfolded. Talking on a cell phone also carries significant risks. According to the National Safety Council, drivers can miss seeing up to half of what’s around them — traffic lights, stop signs, pedestrians — when talking on a cell phone.
In our digital world, people feel pressure to remain in constant contact, even when behind the wheel. As mobile technology use increases, distracted driving — talking, texting, sending emails — is a growing threat to community safety. We have all seen distracted drivers, and most likely, we ourselves have used a phone while driving. Drivers don’t realize the dangers posed when they take their eyes of the road and their hands off the wheel and focus on activities other than driving.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, each day in the U.S., more than nine people are killed, and more than 1,153 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. The National Highway Administration notes that 3,154 people were killed and an estimated 424,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in 2013.
Texting and cell phone use behind the wheel takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel and your focus off driving — putting the driver and others in danger, including passengers, pedestrians, other drivers and bystanders. On the tragic end of the spectrum, victims’ families, friends, co-workers and community are impacted.
At Marshall County REMC, safety is a core value. At this time of year in particular, when more people are on the roads and kids are out of school, our goal is to raise awareness and spur conversation about the dangers of distracted driving. Talking on a cell phone quadruples your risk of an accident, about the same as if you were driving drunk. Risk doubles again if you are texting while driving. We are committed to eliminating this unnecessary risk and believe that no conversation or text is worth the potential danger.
Help promote a culture of safety. We encourage everyone to join us and help keep our families, friends and neighbors safer by urging them to put their phones down and focusing on the road when they drive. Together, we can put the brakes on distracted driving.
Electrical safety tips for teen drivers
Don’t get out of the car if it leaves the road and strikes a utility pole. Fallen power lines are hard to see and could kill whomever touches them or gets too close to them.
Do keep your phone in a secure place, like a pocket, the storage between the front seats or glove compartment, in case of an accident.
Do tell others where you are going, what route you are taking and when you should arrive or be home before you leave.
Don’t use your phone while your car is moving. If you need to text or use your hands to call, safely pull over somewhere first.