Stop Texting while driving
It is one of those things that many road users are guilty of at some stage or another. Whether it be picking up the phone to answer a call to pull over while still on the road or sending a “quick” okay text as a response, being on the phone while driving is puts everyone on the road around you in harms way.
Driving a vehicle requires complete concentration at all times. There are so many other things happening on the road and beside the road that can be unpredictable and cause accidents unless you are observant on the road and ready to avoid them.
I know from personal experience on more than one occasion seeing a vehicle in front of me swerving from one side of the road to the other and sometimes even crossing lanes. The first couple of times I thought that the driver must be drunk or on drugs and I thought one driving was actually having a heart attack.
It didn’t take long to realize that these drivers were in fact on the phone or texting whilst driving.
Children near roads make everyone nervous. We teach them road safety and to look both ways before crossing the road. We teach them to give way to cars but accidents do happen. They can be so quick and run between cars or behind cars that are reversing. Not only can a family be put through having their child seriously or permanently injured but also that child may even lose their life. It is the driver that is involved in the accident that has to live with it too.
As a society we are too impatient with each other. Once we have sent a text message to a friend or family member we consider it to be bad manners to not answer immediately. At times even following it up with a text of impatience if we haven’t heard anything back. This is often regardless of what the other person is doing, driving a vehicle for instance.
There are many hands free devices that you can purchase online or in shops that work with all phones and in the newer vehicles hands free capabilities are as normal as air conditioning in a vehicle.
How can you avoid the temptation of using your phone whilst driving?
- Put it in your handbag or where you cannot see it. You are unable to answer any text messages if you cannot see them. If they are out of reach then the only way to respond is to safely pull over and return the text/call when the car is at a complete stop.
- Have a hands free unit that you are able to pick up the call verbally. There are many of these on the market that are an eye piece that you can simply say “Answer” and the call is answered and you are able to advise the caller that you are currently driving and need to pull over at a safe location to continue the call.
- If your vehicle has Bluetooth capabilities with your phone, a lot of the time there will be an answering button on the steering wheel to safely pick up the call.
I read somewhere once that we can do more than one thing at a time but the quality is not the same when we do them both at the same time.
An example of this is when you are driving a car and talking (on your hands free of course) to say a friend. You really aren’t giving your friend 100% of your thoughts and attention because you are watching the vehicles and pedestrians on the road and footpaths.
Especially if you compare the conversation in your car to the conversation you would be having if you were at home in your favourite chair with a cup of coffee.
You would be giving your friend all of your attention and listening intently to everything they are saying.
The same thing is happening with your driving. Your brain is trying to have a conversation with your friend when you are looking at the road but not seeing everything that is happening on the road.
Have you ever driven to or from work for the millionth time and thought “I don’t really remember the drive”? This will happen more than you think. We become familiar with roads and driving routines and these are often the roads where driving on the phone or texting will occur because you have driven this road 100 times before.
This is why the Queensland Transport and Main Roads are working with the Government with Television campaigns of texting and how easily an accident can happen from a simple text.
One of those campaigns show just how far the vehicle has travelled with the drivers eyes off the road. This is emphasized with the driver driving with a blindfold on. Other campaigns compare driving while texting just as dangerous as drink driving. As I said earlier, travelling behind the vehicle of a driver texting looks like an extremely drunk driver.
What a great way to show especially our younger drivers in the community a different perspective especially since they have always had this technology in their lives. Gone are the days of waiting until you got home to make a call from the phone attached to the kitchen wall. If you called someone and the phone was engaged you just had to call back later and see if you had good enough timing to catch them before they left the house.
Technology is a fantastic thing to keep everyone in touch and communicating on a high level.
When you are driving on Queensland roads, just do that, just drive and we can all make it home safe.