How dangerous is texting and driving really?

Most people realize texting and driving is dangerous, but they may not understand exactly how distracting it can be.

Drivers across New York and the rest of the country have likely heard about the dangers of driving and operating a cellphone. However, even with this knowledge many people still choose to text and drive. In fact, about 660,000 drivers use their cellphones or another electronic device at any given time during the day according to the Federal Communications Commission. Because of this continued use, 1,161 people are injured in accidents involving distracted drivers and an additional eight are killed each day. If more people understand why texting while behind the wheel is dangerous, they may choose to put their phones away until they are done operating a vehicle.

Takes eyes off the road

Sending a text or looking down to read a notification on a phone requires the use of a person's eyes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that it takes about five seconds for the average person to send or read a text. This may not seem like that long, but in that time a car traveling at 55 mph can cover the length of a football field. When a person is not watching the road, he or she will not be able to keep track of the changing traffic patterns.

Takes mind off the task

Not only does using a cellphone physically take a person's eyes off of the road, but it also requires the person to stop thinking about driving. In the moments someone needs to form a witty reply to a message, he or she may not pay attention to the fact that the person in front of them is hitting the brakes, which means there may not be enough time to stop a fender bender. This inattentiveness can affect a person's ability to drive even if his or her eyes remain on the road.

Takes hands off the wheel

Finally, texting while driving is a dangerous activity because it requires the driver to remove at least one of his or her hands off of the steering wheel. Driving with one hand reduces a person's ability to react quickly. The car operator may also have less control over the vehicle. This is a big concern for drivers operating in less than ideal conditions, including gravel roads, wet highways or icy stretches, because the car may need extra force to stay on its path.

New York residents who continue to use cellphones and other electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle put themselves and others on the road at a higher risk of getting in an accident. If someone is involved in a collision with a distracted driver, it may be beneficial to work with an attorney who is familiar with this type of personal injury case.