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Why Focusing on Texting & Driving is Not Enough

Texting & Driving is a serious driving flaw and major factor in most collisions. This is common knowledge but we forget that there was a time when there was no such thing as texting and driving. Before texting there were plenty of collisions on the roadway. If we look back in time we'll see that all of the wrecks prior to texting - still happen today. At UltraSafe we teach 8 major reasons for all wrecks and explore what we, the driver, can do to minimize or eliminate each ingredient in the collision cake. They are: Speed, Space, Distraction, Visibility, Traction, Impatience, Miscalculation, and Intimidation. There are other reasons such as drinking and driving but these are the most common. And with a little examination you'll find that many of these reasons are related to each other, such as speed and traction. Unfortunately, we have been so incredibly bombarded with anti-texting & driving messages that we tend to forget what also is distracted driving and that there are 7 other major reasons for collisions.

Distraction includes looking at anything not related to the driving task. While looking in your rear view mirror at the tailgaiter can be considered a distraction (which it is), it is actually a part of the driving task. Looking for the window button, changing a station or song, or adjusting the temperature is not a required part of the driving task. So obviously looking at your phone is not. How about looking for your phone? Looking for your phone and looking at your phone is basically distracted driving. Although when you are looking for your phone you don't tend to stare at it - like you do at the screen on your phone. But nevertheless, both are still categorized as distracted driving even though most of us might question this comparison. And we don't all agree on what is distracted driving because we all have our own perceptions of risk that help us determine when we are being risky drivers. One driver told me they only text and drive when they have adequate following distance. Their perception of risk was not as comprehensive as mine. When it comes to distracted driving, any and all things that distract our eyes and attention from the driving task should be considered equal to each other.

We also tend to forget the other major reasons for wrecks that were just as prevalent before texting as it is now. Before texting most people who thought they were safe drivers would say "well, I don't speed, I have no speeding tickets". Now people say "I'm a safe driver I don't text". Some still mention speeding but I'm starting to hear from more and more young people that the main gauge of safe driving is whether you text and drive or not. Focusing entirely on a few safe driving techniques is an eas

y way to forget the other reasons for wrecks or safer driving techniques like following distance; or it allows the driver to minimize risk by creating an excuse to drive unsafe by comparing it to the ultimate unsafe driving technique...texting and driving (passenger: "you need to slow down a little" - - driver: "I'm fine, at least I don't text and drive").

When evaluating your driving or maybe your child's driving please do not only rely upon texting and driving (and/or wearing a seatbelt) as the most important way to determine safe driving. Texting & driving is serious and should always be treated as one of the ultimate no-nos in driving. But also remember, even if you don't text and drive - unsafe speeds, lack of space, lack of visibility, loss of traction, impatient driving, miscalculating when to do or not to do something, and being intimidated by drivers behind you can also lead to a serious collision and be just as dangerous as distracted driving (which includes texting & driving).

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