People in many professions feel tethered to their mobile devices. A real estate agent receiving a lead from their website knows that they need to respond within minutes or that possible client will have already spoken to someone else. Sales professional or executive knows they need to respond to business texts as soon as they come in.
Unfortunately, paying attention to your phone at the wheel can be dangerous and increase your risk of causing a crash. Some people try to work around this risk by only using their phones when they stop at an intersection or a red light.
After all, that way they can look at their phone briefly and then put it down before merging back into the flow of traffic. The problem with this approach is that it ignores the cognitive hangover caused by screen use.
Phone distraction doesn’t end when you set the device down
Researchers have looked carefully at how phones and screens affect cognition and reaction time while driving. The results are quite troubling.
Most adults will display a cognitive deficit for approximately 27 seconds even after they stop handling or looking at their mobile devices. In other words, in an area with a speed limit of 55 miles an hour, you could travel almost half a mile before your brain fully refocuses on the road around you.
You could drive a long way before your ability to react quickly and appropriately goes back to normal. There is simply no safe way to text while driving unless you pull over to the side of the road and wait 30 seconds after putting the phone back down to get onto the street again.
The distraction of other drivers also puts you at risk
Even if you turn your ringer off and put your phone upside down so you don’t see any notification lights, distracted driving could still hurt you.
You could end up in a crash caused by someone with less responsible driving habits and your own. The person distracted at the wheel will likely be the one allocated fault for the crash, so you may be able to bring an insurance claim or even a civil lawsuit against that distracted driver.
Recognizing distraction risks yourself will help you limit the chances of getting into a serious collision.