Picture this: you are on your way to work. The person in the car ahead of you is eating their breakfast sandwich, putting on their mascara, and worst of all they’re checking their messages on their phone….all while driving. If you were to ask them what they were doing, they would simply respond “multitasking”. What they are actually doing is putting everyone on the road in danger.
Multitasking, or performing multiple tasks at once, is an act that many humans find themselves “good at.” Let's be real: psychologically, we are not wired to be multitaskers. Our brains can only focus on one task at a time; therefore, we are mono-taskers. Don’t believe me? Try this: pick your right foot up, and move it in a clockwise direction. Meanwhile, with your right index figure, draw the number six in the air. Notice anything? Your brain cannot do certain things simultaneously.
When we are driving, our focus needs to be on the road, not checking our inbox or who messaged us last. I am a teen. I get it. Sometimes we are on the edge of our seats waiting for someone to respond to our plan ideas. Waiting to see if they posted a status update. Did they like your selfie? Comment too? Are your friends active on social media? Technology makes us easily distracted.
There are three types of distracted driving: visual, manual, and cognitive. All of these can lead to crashes and fatalities; texting is classified as all three. On average, texting takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. That means you could drive the length of a football field while not paying attention. Nine people are killed each day in the United States in crashes caused by a driver being distracted (Source: NHTSA). That’s nine seats at the dinner table that are empty. That’s nine lockers empty at school. Nine families impacted. Nine communities that are going to struggle with grieving. That’s nine lives a day that could be saved by making safer decisions.
When you text and drive, you not only put yourself in danger, but also your passengers and those who share the road with you.
Now, there is a good chance that if you are reading this blog, you support SADD, and that means you most likely do not text and drive. As people, we have the great ability to empower others to put down their technology as well. If you are a passenger of someone who is texting and driving, ask them to put down their phone or offer assistance. As a passenger, you can send the text, be the DJ, and be the one who speaks up; it will save lives.
Technology is a great invention that will better our future, but only if we use it correctly. Technology is not meant to be used during driving; that was not the purpose of its design.
Ttyl, but pls remember: ur txts can wait, cuz ur focus needs 2 b on the road.
For additional information on the dangers of distracted driving and other key driving skills, check out the NRSF Passport to Safe Driving!
Interested in more conversations like this one? Consider joining SADD for the 2023 Summer Conference Series, a virtual event focused on celebrating youth health and safety all summer long. Learn more and register for free below!