A great deal of focus is required in order to drive safely. Driving while distracted (DWD) is dangerous. In fact, studies show that driving while distracted is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This fact has led most states to place a ban on driving while distracted.
In 2007, Washington was the first state to pass a driving while distracted ban. All but two states have put their own bans in place since then. Arizona has many individual cities with their own bans but is one of only two states without a state-wide law.
Dangers of Driving While Distracted
When you drive distracted, the likelihood of a fatal accident greatly increases. You put your safety, as well as any passengers, pedestrians or other drivers, at risk any time you allow yourself to become distracted behind the wheel.
Of all the ways to become distracted while driving, texting is the worst and by far the most dangerous. To understand why texting behind the wheel is so dangerous, you first need to know the three different types of distractions:
- Manual distraction: Any activity that requires you to take one or both hands off the steering wheel while driving
- Visual distraction: Occurs any time that you fail to look at the road ahead
- Cognitive distraction: Refers to any time that you are mentally focused on anything other than your driving (e.g. having a conversation with a passenger)
So what’s so wrong with texting?
Now that you have a better understanding of the different types of distractions, think about the act of texting. When you choose to respond to a text while driving, first you must take your hand off of the steering wheel, then you’ve got to look at the screen to read the message, and finally you have to think of how to respond. All three types of distractions come into play while texting. When you think about the amount of time it takes to send a text and the speed at which you’re traveling, it’s no wonder why many fatal crashes happen because of texting on the road.
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