Is texting while driving worse than drunk driving? - OHS Body Shop

Anyone will tell you that drunk driving is wrong and extremely dangerous. For most people drinking and driving is simply taboo, not to mention that it is illegal worldwide.

However, when it comes to texting and driving, most people tend to take a much more relaxed approach. Let’s face it, we all get message notifications while driving, and it does not seem that sending an emoji or an OK as a reply can make too much trouble.

You are not drunk; you only take your eyes off the road for one short second. However, the statistics show that texting and driving already lead to almost as many accidents and even deaths on the road as DUI.

Today, even a separate term describes a driver who caused an accident while texting – Intextigated.

In this article, we shall talk about how texting and driving are more dangerous than you think and how to get rid of this habit once and for all.

Texting and driving in numbers

In 2020 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a report that claimed that texting and driving are almost 6 times as dangerous as driving under the Influence (DUI). 

The studies conducted among drivers with different experience levels and vehicles showed that texting and driving reduced reaction speed by 35%. At the same time, an intoxicated driver has around a 12% slower reaction.
The attitude towards DUI and texting behind the wheel also plays a vital role in drivers’ behavior. While 96% of respondents admit that drunk driving is illegal, still only 40% find driving and texting wrong. 

When you don’t acknowledge that your actions are dangerous or illegal, you are less focused. There is a bigger chance that a person who had a drink or two will at least try and do their best to drive home safely, knowing that they are doing something wrong. At the same time, someone who does not see anything dangerous in reading a text message or even responding to it on the road will consider the situation less serious and therefore has more chances to cause an accident or get into one.

According to the United States Department of Transportation, 1,6 million accidents happen due to cell phone use behind the wheel every year. At least 6,000 of those accidents are fatal.

It is essential to understand: nobody says that DUI is any less dangerous than driving and texting. But the fact that so many people still don’t take the problem seriously leads to the constantly rising numbers of fatalities on the road due to smartphone use while driving.

How to avoid the dangers of driving and texting?

The answer is straightforward: don’t! However, modern technologies sometimes make it hard to keep your eyes off the phone at all times. Sometimes we get notifications and simply cannot help ourselves and get distracted.

Here are simple things you can do to avoid being “intextigated” while driving:

  • Keep the phone off your eyes. Avoid placing a phone at the windshield, dashboard, or any other place where you may get distracted by the flashing screen and notifications;
  • Turn off notifications. If someone needs to contact you urgently, they can call. Text messages, e-mails, and social media notifications can wail until you get out of the car;
  • Call instead of texting. If you saw the notification anyway and feel that it can be something urgent, call instead of texting back. Even a simple OK in a text can become fatal.

The biggest problem with driving and texting is the fact that it quickly turns into a habit that makes you “put the shields down” and become less focused behind the wheel. However, a bad habit can easily be suppressed by a good one.

Make a rule to keep phones away during driving like you would at a date or family dinner. Set an example for your children to ensure that they will be conscious and responsible drivers in the future.

Here at PHS Body Shop, we care about the safety of our dear customers. We shall be happy to answer all your questions about safe and responsible driving and prepare your car for the upcoming season in one of our branches located all over Montana’s Greater Flathead Valley, in Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls and Polson.

Contact OHS Body Shop and enjoy comprehensive service, routine or emergency check-ups and repairs, and a safe driving experience.