When I was 18, and had been driving for less than a year, my grandma was at my house along with the rest of my dad’s family. She was a joy in our life, and we often teased her for her random comments and stories that typically didn’t make sense or relate to the conversation (this was an ongoing thing with her, unrelated to age, and she knew we did it in love).
That night, a topic about smartphones came up and became our discussion. Suddenly, my grandma blurted out “I saw on the news today someone got in a terrible accident because one of the drivers was Facebooking while driving!” We weren’t exactly sure what to do with the information, other than after a few quiet moments someone teased her about her random comments.
When everyone turned back to the discussion, my grandma grabbed my arm and said to me “If you ever do the Facebook or texting thing while you are driving, you will be in big trouble!” I smiled and accepted the word of advice, but didn’t think much of it as I didn’t consider that to be a problem I had.
Less than a year later, my grandma died due to cancer. That statement was one of the last things she said to just me. Now, I think about that statement whenever I get in the car.
As smartphones become a larger part of our society, more people take them for granted in any situation. Whether it be at the dinner table, in the movie theater, or in the car. While most of these situations present only a danger to social interaction, its using a smartphone while driving that presents a real danger.
Now I can sit here and give you statistics, or tell you that texting while driving is more dangerous than drunk driving, or that the minimum amount of time it takes for you to check that text message is equivalent to driving the length of a football field if driving at 55 MPH. But you’ve heard all of that. The question that comes to my mind is, what haven’t you heard?
What I think most people haven’t heard is the truth. And I don’t mean statistics. I mean, what happens when you are texting and driving, and what would happen if it resulted in an accident, possibly fatal.
One of the things that people who text and drive say (or think) is “I know whats going on around me”. I don’t need to do research to say that’s not true. When you’re texting and driving, you are going too slow on the freeway. Or you’re not staying in your lane. More importantly, you’re not seeing the cars around you in order to drive defensively.
If you do this, think truthfully for a second: can you recall the brand and color of the cars that have driven around you while texting? Let me answer that for you: no.
Can you say for certain that you know how fast you were going while you were texting? I’ll answer that for you as well: no.
If you’ve been honked at while texting and driving, can you honestly tell me why you were honked at? I think you know what I’m getting at.
The truth is, only you know the truth. You KNOW that if you were to take a look at yourself, you cannot honestly admit that you are 100% aware of the road in front of AND around you.
For the record, this can go further than smartphones. Bluetooth headsets, smartwatches, car dashboards, and more. Just because you have both hands on the wheel doesn’t mean you are aware of the road.
If you’re sitting there shaking your head at me, then me dig in further: if you did get into an accident because you were texting while driving, what sort of affects would that have on your life? At minimum, you’re looking at spending money on fixing your car, which is significantly more than the money it cost to send that text. At maximum, you’re dead. Are your loved ones prepared for that? Are YOU prepared for that? I’ll go ahead and answer that for you as well: no.
The next time you’re in the car reaching for your phone to respond to your friend’s text asking if you’re on the way, think truthfully: would they rather not get an answer from you and see you when you get there, or would they rather get an answer from you and not see you, ever?