Distracted Driving is Using your Phone Hands-Free

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Today, people seem to always be on their phones and unfortunately, this does not change while operating a vehicle. Technology has advanced so much within the past century and we seem to rely on it more and more as the years pass on. As we become more reliable on and use technology more, distracted driving becomes more of a problem.

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The leading killer among teenage drivers, Texting while driving effects thousands of lives each year. Texting on the phone while driving more than quadruples the chance of an accident. This can easily be avoided by just simply putting the phone down when operating behind the wheel. Texting and driving is becoming more and more of a problem every day. This distraction may seem subtle, but the number of casualties from this irresponsible behavior definitely show otherwise. Another form of distracted driving is using your phone hands-free. Phone calls and text messages can be made hands-free. Not a single U.S state bans the use of hands-free cell phones which are just as deadly as texting and driving as it slows down your reaction time.

The hands-free use of cell phones is just as dangerous for it poses just as much of a mental distraction as physically texting on the phone while driving do. Many people neglect to realize this. Texting and talking on the phone while driving has become such a problem that app makers have created software to prevent text messages from reaching your phone once you go above a certain speed and blocks all calls except the ones you choose to keep on a call list in case of an emergency. Some of these apps will even send a custom message to the person trying to reach you and let them know that you are driving. These apps have been proved to be very useful when used correctly. On average, about 40,000 people die each year and over 3 million are injured in the U.S in motor vehicle crashes.

About 6,000 of those deaths and over 430,000 of those injuries were from texting and driving alone. Texting and driving has also been the result of over 600 pedestrian and bicyclist deaths per year since 2005. These numbers are sickening and increasing at an alarming rate every single year. There are a number of different forms of distracted driving. A few are: eating, turning up or changing the radio station, looking around for something or even having a casual conversation with a passenger. However, texting and driving is the most deadly distraction. I see people who are distracted while driving every single day.

Most, with their phone in their hand looking down at the screen. It’s easy to spot a distracted driver. Swerving, random braking and speeding or going under the speed limit are all signs that the driver is not paying full attention to the road. I mainly see people on their phones at red lights. Even if the car is not moving, this still is very dangerous and irresponsible. I have witnessed very dangerous things while stopped at a red light. We are all stopped, the people’s light in the left turn lane turns green so they start moving while our light is still red. Then all of a sudden, a car in the front of the line starts moving forward because he sees cars moving in his peripheral vision. Next thing I know, they just ran the red light and drove through an intersection with cars coming from the opposite direction. Thankfully, there was not an accident and no one was injured.

Unfortunately, this is not the case most of the time. My heart sank when I witnessed this. The scary thing is, I have seen this happen multiple times! It’s all due to the fact of people pulling out their phone when stopped. Seeing this happen has opened my eyes to the dangers of looking at my phone while stopped. More importantly, it has opened my eyes to having my phone out period while operating my vehicle. I also believe that checking your phone at red lights is the “gateway” to people texting while their car is moving. It starts out as a few texts sent while stopped. They get comfortable doing that until it then it turns into them texting, going down the road with no one beside them. It then turns into them texting at any point while they are driving, regardless if there are cars around. It slowly begins to snowball and the chances of an accident greatly increase.

Texting and operating a moving vehicle is extremely dangerous and irresponsible. People neglect to think that they are driving a potentially deadly weapon. All of this could be avoided and lives would be spared if people would do just one simple thing: put down the phone when operating a vehicle. Another dangerous form of driving, whether people believe it or not, is using your phone hands-free. This means using voice commands to tell your phone who to text, whom to call or navigating your GPS. Many people neglect to realize that this form of distracted driving is actually super dangerous for it poses as a huge mental distraction. Your brain can only fully focus on one thing at a time. When you are driving, your brain is fully occupied which leaves no room for any kind of distraction. Looking ahead to ensure you are far enough away from the car in front of you, checking your mirrors, using judgment to know when to brake and checking your surrounding of any possible danger, these are all things a driver should be doing to ensure not only their safety, but the safety of others around them. The second a driver accepts a call, cognitive thinking begins to neglect these responsibilities of driving.

Using your phone hands-free makes you four times more likely to be involved in an accident. You begin to look at your mirrors less, speed or go below the speed limit and begin to slowly shut out the world around you without even noticing. With the advancement of phones as well as cars, this makes hands-free use of phones much easier. With that, comes the increase of this form of distracted driving. One day while driving to work on highway 377, I’m in the right-hand lane going the speed limit.

Checking my mirrors, I notice a car in the left-hand lane coming really fast. I am already doing the speed limit which is 75. As the car is coming up next to me, there is a slight curve in the road that leads to the left. The car passes me right as the road starts to curve. He came about a foot away from my door, then quickly yanked the car to the left to avoid hitting me. After that, he continued to go over the speed limit. Now with him in front of me, I started watching his driving behavior. He was of course speeding and was swerving pretty frequently. I eventually make it to one of the red lights right before entering Granbury. Somehow I end up stopped right beside the guy who just almost side-swiped my car. I look over at him and notice that he is talking without a phone in hand and he had no passengers with him. I noticed that he would ever so often look down at his radio, sometimes touching and messing with it. It then came to me. He is texting hands-free. This is a prime example that hands-free texting is just as dangerous as physically texting and driving. Hands-free does not mean “free of distraction,” it just means your hands are not on your phone. The mental distraction, however, is there.

Unfortunately, people think using their device hands-free is safer than physically holding it. This makes them think it is okay. In all actual reality, it is not. We can’t and will never be able to stop distracted driving from happening. All we can do is educate people on the dangers of it and make apps available to help prevent you from texting or making calls. App makers have created apps that can block text messages from reaching your phone while you are driving and limit what calls can come through. When used correctly, these apps have proven to be very efficient. One of my close friends had an app called Drive Safe Mode a few years ago that would notify her parents if her phone was being used while the car was moving or notify them if the app was turned off at any point while driving. She was in a pretty bad wreck when she was 16 because of the distraction her phone caused.

Luckily, she and the person involved were fine with some minor scrapes and bruises. Her parents forced her to download this app to her phone so they could monitor it and make sure she wasn’t driving irresponsibly, again. Because of this, I believe is the reason she never got into another wreck. This app really helped her and also gave her parents peace of mind. As long as there is a need for technology, distracted driving will always be a problem. That being said, technology is what this world revolves around so distracted driving will forever be a problem. There is really no way to stop distracted driving completely so we just have to hope that people will wake up to their senses one day and realize that being on the phone period while driving is super dangerous and very irresponsible. We can preach to teenagers/young adults all day about the dangers of distracted driving but it only goes so far.

Even technology can only do so much for this. It’s really up to the person behind the wheel to make the smart decision to not look at their phone when driving. Hopefully in the near future, we can come up with some sort of solid solution to end texting and talking while driving but for now, it is in the hands of the drivers themselves.

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Distracted Driving is Using your Phone Hands-Free. (2021, Apr 03). Retrieved December 6, 2022 , from
https://studydriver.com/distracted-driving-is-using-your-phone-hands-free/

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