The Blog

More People Are Texting And Driving: Here's Why We Should Be Scared

According to Texting and Driving, 1 in 5 people have admitted to surfing the web while driving. As the numbers continue to grow, it's time we asked ourselves how many lives we're willing to put at risk because of our hand held devices.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
Portrait of a young woman texting on her smartphone while driving a car
Portrait of a young woman texting on her smartphone while driving a car

As the numbers continue to grow, it's time we asked ourselves how many lives we're willing to put at risk because of our hand held devices.

The Centers for Disease Control conducted a survey way back in 2011. It revealed that 46% of 17-year-old drivers had texted while driving. For over 18s, this number rose to 52%. It goes to show what scientists have long feared. The rules and the threats are out there to stop this menace, but people simply aren't paying any attention.

Nevertheless, the reality is texting while driving makes you dumber in a lot of ways. Spending all your time glued to your phone is steadily corroding your mental faculties. In this guide, you are going to learn about why texting and driving actually makes you dumber.

You Are Going to Get Hurt

Let's hit the low-hanging fruit first. Texting while driving drastically increases your chances of experiencing a motor vehicle accident. You are not paying attention to your surroundings. Test after test has demonstrated that you cannot concentrate on the road and text at the same time.

It doesn't matter how good you think you are. It can't be done and sooner or later it will come back to bite you. The risk of a car accident is enormously high. You are either going to come away with life changing injuries or you are going to jail because you inflicted similar injuries on a member of the general public.

Eroding Your Memory

You may spend your car journeys listening to eBooks or podcasts. Everything you listen to represents an opportunity to learn. However, if you are in the middle of learning about something and you receive a text something happens.

If you check this text, it can interrupt your thoughts. It prevents the transfer of information from occurring. You may have absorbed the information, but your mind hasn't retained that information. There is strong evidence to show that constant texting and technology use can diminish memory.

Diminishing Concentration

Good drivers can concentrate for long periods of time.
This may not have been a problem for your parents, but you have the ability to concentrate for less time than they do. If you are constantly texting and driving, you are diminishing your ability to focus on what's ahead of you.

In addition, this can have serious consequences. Your brain is concentrating on what's on the screen, rather than actually comprehending the information you are taking in. The volume of the brain changes in various sections, which leads to a scenario where you are unable to focus on the task at hand.

For drivers, this is incredibly dangerous because it increases the chances of experiencing an accident on the road.

What About the Law?

You must understand that while most people have answered a text while driving before, this is entirely illegal. If a police officer pulls you over, they can issue tickets and it can even lead to you losing your license. This can leave you in a situation where you are unable to attend work. Many people have lost their jobs and it has always started from something like texting and driving.

Texting and driving does make you dumber in another way. If you are able to break one law, what's to stop you from taking a chance and answering a call while driving? Or even drinking small amounts of alcohol and driving? It's a slippery slope.

Beware of Liability

This is not only a serious issue because of the long-term risk posed to you. Drivers forget that they are responsible for everyone else on the road. If you are texting and driving and you crash into a car you may be okay. However, if the other person is left in a wheelchair for the rest of their lives, it could land you in jail, and that's your life over.

Liability is a huge issue when driving and it's one so many people never take into account. You should go out of your way to think about other drivers before you pick up your phone to answer a text.

If you are struggling to break your texting addiction, get into the habit of switching your phone off. You may even want to travel with someone you trust who can step in when your fingers get itchy and you have to send a message.

The problem so many drivers have is that texting every minute of the day has become an obsessive compulsion. They can no longer help themselves.

But by paying attention to the consequences of regular texting, you can train yourself to put the phone down and switch off once in a while.