When cell phones first appeared over forty-three years ago, they were bulky devices that were unattainable to the average person. Yet, in the modern world, nearly everyone owns not only a cellphone but a smartphone. With these added features and conveniences come new dangers and distractions.
Easily the biggest danger of cell phones is the distraction they cause while driving. According to a survey done by Erie Insurance, one third of drivers admit to texting behind the wheel while three quarters of drivers have seen others texting and driving. A lot of people forget just how dangerous driving is. Despite the fact that most Americans drive on a daily basis, the vast majority of people take driving much less seriously than they should. Part of the reason why so many people text and drive must be due to the idea that bad things only ever happen to someone else. This idea is easy to perpetuate as most young people feel almost immortal as if they are never going to grow old. As it happens, young adults in their twenties are involved in thirty-eight percent of fatal crashes involving distracted driving by cell phone use. While I could go on for hours lamenting the use of cell phones to text, play “Pokemon Go” or take selfies while driving, I will make myself useful by describing ways to remedy the harmful effects of phone usage.
One of the greatest modern inventions is the hands free device. While ideally you are not talking on your phone at all while driving, these devices are much safer than holding your phone (and much more legal in some states). If you talk on your phone, even using a hands free device, you are distracting your mind from the road. By thinking of things other than the task of driving, you’re likely to have a slower reaction time to emergencies. However, the positives to using a hands free device certainly decrease the dangers of cell phone use on the road. They literally keep your hands free so you’re able to fully maneuver your vehicle safely.
Whether you are speaking to someone else in person or on the phone, it is always a good idea to pause the conversation when entering hazardous driving conditions. It is my personal belief that it is harder to halt a cell phone conversation than an in-person talk because the passenger can see the road way and will likely stop talking due to the conditions. However, someone speaking to you over the phone might be unaware of why you’re suddenly acting rude and ignoring them. Hanging up and pausing the conversation can strain your relationship with that person. While the danger of conversation distracting the driver in dangerous situations is not limited to cell phones, it certainly stands out on cell phones. Imagine you have a work call as well as heavy traffic on your morning commute. You are unlikely to stop listening to your boss or ask for a moment to drive safely because of the value that your working relationship has to you. It would be better just to not pick up the phone in the first place.
I don’t mean to sound like a grumpy old man who misses his youth because I really enjoy my smartphone. It makes my life extremely convenient and more entertaining. However, the popularity of this new technology within the last ten to fifteen years has made the roads unnecessarily more dangerous. Fatal crashes can happen to anyone. Personally, I don’t wish to be crashed into by someone on their phone or to cause an accident because I had to send a text or take a call. There is nothing as important as your life. Whatever is happening on your phone can wait. If it cannot wait, then pull over and take care of it before getting back on the road. Endangering the lives of yourself and those around you is irresponsible and, quite frankly, stupid.
Check out this AT&T advertisement on why you should not text and drive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVnRcIXEqaU