Driving Distracted

Posted: April 30, 2012 by jerkmagblog in VAULT -- archives

A few years ago as I was driving home from my summer job, I was witness to an on-foot police chase. “Witness” makes it sound like a big deal, when in reality, I really just saw a man being chased by police out of the corner of my eye, then got into my car and drove away. But it still prompted me to immediately text my mom the news – while driving.

Embarrassingly enough, I rear-ended the car in front of me, mid-text, and ended up not only totaling my car, but completely destroying my cell phone as well. (For the record, I didn’t hit the car in front of me that hard; my airbags deployed and shattered my windshield and driver’s side window). That’s just what you get when you drive distracted.

And according to a recent study done by the UC San Diego’s Trauma Epidemiology and Injury Prevention Research Center, distracted driving is on the rise – most notably among students. The reason for this increase? Other than the fact that students think they’re better at driving and multitasking than they really are, the practice of distracted driving has become an accepted practice in today’s society.

Texting while driving seemed to be the most frequent practice of distracted driving with 50 percent of participants confessing that they had sent texts while driving on the highway, and 60 percent of participants saying they send texts while in stop and go traffic in city situations. Even greater, 87 percent claimed that they send texts while at traffic lights. Only 12 percent of the participants polled said they never text while driving, no matter what.

I completely understand how essential some of those text messages are: maybe you got a text from that cute guy you met last night and don’t want to wait too long to respond, for fear that you’ll seem uninterested; or maybe your best friend is in crisis-mode and needs advice, ASAP. But – and I know I’m risking sounding like a PSA here – are any of those things worth injuring yourself over? I’m thinking not. So, do yourself and those around you a favor and just wait until you’re parked to respond to that text message.

—Amber Brenza

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