Thanks to aggressive campaigning, everyone is aware of the dangers of drinking and driving. From the old-school Red Ribbon Week to DUI defense lawyers and police stations, organizations have done their part to reveal how hazardous driving under the influence truly is. Did you know that texting and driving is worse than drunk driving, though?
It might not seem like a harmless text could ever be as disastrous as one too many drinks, but the reality is that even the most intoxicated of drivers stand a better chance (if slightly) of avoiding an accident than texters. Don’t believe it? Here’s why.
A recent test conducted Car and Driver Magazine studied reaction times for sober and drunk drivers, as well as those texting. Driver Eddie Alterman climbed to 70 miles per hour in a safe setting for each scenario, braking when a red indicator light came on.
It took Alterman just 0.54 seconds to brake when sober, but he traveled an extra four feet once intoxicated. After sobering up for another day of testing, it then took him an additional 36 feet to stop while reading an email. As his attention was on texting, he failed to fully stop until 70 feet after the indicator light came on. On average, it was four times as long before he hit the brakes while on his phone.
The Time Factor
Alterman’s test isn’t the first to show that texting is drastically more dangerous than drunk driving, despite public opinion. Another study looked at the risk drivers take when removing their eyes from the road to read a text.
When traveling at 50 miles per hour, your car can clear an entire football field in roughly five seconds. While not every text takes five seconds to read, removing your eyes from the road for any more than a second can easily cause a disastrous accident.
One Less Hand
Let’s say you don’t take five seconds to read or respond to a text and that you rarely drive 50 miles an hour. Even then, you still need one spare hand to handle your phone. That might not seem dangerous, people drive with one hand all the time, but it becomes a risk when you consider your ability to react to road hazards.
With both hands on the wheel or even one while watching the road, you can quickly maneuver out of harm’s way should the need arise. With your attention split and one less hand at the ready, your ability to avoid a pileup or debris is cut by more than half.
These three key factors make texting and driving more of a danger than most realize. As a society, we rightfully demonize drunk driving. Critics across the country and personal injury attorneys alike, argue that it’s time for the country to accept how dangerous checking a text behind the wheel truly is. Remember, one text isn’t worth your life or anyone else’s.