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In the world of instant communication, texting has become a staple of the conversational diet. Many people speak to their friends and relatives more through electronic messaging systems on their smartphones than they do in person. However, a large percentage of people never stop communicating–even when they’re behind the wheel. Two out of every ten drivers admit to texting while driving. This reckless act endangers not only the offending driver but also every other driver and passenger on the road upon which he or she drives.
In independent testing conducted by Car and Driver Magazine, results showed that texting drivers experienced a delayed response time that far exceeds the affects of alcohol impairment. A normal, sober driver responds by hitting his break in 0.54 seconds. A drunk driver with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 will respond, on average, quickly enough to add four feet to the stopping distance. Texters, however, showed an increase in stopping distance of 70 feet. This is enough distance to cause plenty of damage on the highway.
Despite these numbers, most people simply don’t see the harm in texting while driving. Several locations have outlawed the act, but since there is no physical impairment of the driver, many refuse to attribute texting and driving with the proper danger. The truth lies in the statistics: Texting while driving is responsible for more than 2,600 deaths each year. There are many ways to avoid the dangers of texting and driving. Here are a few simple practices that can keep you safe on the road.
Turn off the phone. Your alerts and from emails, texts, calls and applications will be silenced, allowing you to give your full attention to the road and the other drivers on it. Silencing the ring tone may suffice, but avoid setting your mobile phone to vibrate. Whether you keep your phone in your pocket or not, the vibration in most phones can be heard from several feet away.
Keep your mobile out of reach. Take the temptation away completely by placing your phone in the back seat, glove box or trunk of your car while driving.
If you simply must text or use the phone in any manner, pull the car over. Give yourself plenty of room on the driver’s side in cases where you must stop suddenly on the shoulder for your own safety.
If you are less than self-disciplined and find the lure of the mobile too great to resist, you may be able to get your phone to help. AT&T has created a free Blackberry and Android smartphone application called DriveMode that sends an automatic return text to users who try to contact you while you are driving. It also auto-replies to phone calls and emails, informing your contacts, in a personalized message, that you will get back to them as soon as you are off the road. This application and others like it put your mobile phone to task, ensuring that you do not endanger yourself or others on the road.
About the Author
Chloe Parker is the senior news editor for www.MobilePhones.org.uk, where you can find the latest smartphones at the best prices in the market.