Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Texting and driving?

Think that you can text and drive at the same time? Think again.

Researchers at Texas A&M University's Texas Transportation Institute have proven that texting and driving slows down a driver's response time, and makes them more likely to miss a flashing light.

"Essentially texting while driving doubles a driver's reaction time," says Christine Yager, who led the study, which appears on the institute's website. "That makes a driver less able to respond to sudden roadway dangers,"

In the study, 42 drivers between the ages of 16 and 54 drove on an 17 kilometre test course while sending or receiving text messages, and again while focusing completely on the road. They had to stop when they saw a flashing yellow light and their reaction time was recorded by researchers:
  • Typical reaction time without texting: 1~2 seconds
  • While texting: 3~4 seconds
A texting driver was 11 times more likely to miss the flashing light as well.

Yager explains that the 3 to 4 second lag time is significant, because at highway speeds a driver can travel the length of a football field in that time.

"We had participants strike barrels, and it is very scary to think that this is happening on our public roadways," says Yager, adding the findings also apply to other distractions such as checking emails and Facebook.

I'm pretty sure that a lot of people (including myself) have narrowly missed knocking into another vehicle in front of their car, because their eyes were on their phone.

Just think of it this way: is texting more important than your life?

If you really have to reply an urgent message, stop by the side of road and do so; that way you won't put yourself and other people at risk.


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