A study released in 2013 by the Pew Research Center showed that 56% of US adults now have a smartphone, up from 46% in 2012. Although smartphones have many benefits and allow us the ability to have technology at our fingertips, they pose many risks to drivers. Here are three ways that smartphones can create a distraction.
Texting while driving has been shown to increase the chance of an accident by 23 times. Not only are your eyes off the road, but you are also focusing on something other than driving. If you need to text someone or receive a text while driving, find a safe place to pull over and stop the car before you do. Another option is simply to wait until you get to your destination. If someone is texting you, the chances of them requiring a response right away is minimal.
Many people use their smartphone as a way to navigate to their destination. New phones can easily navigate you to your destination, eliminating the need for a separate GPS in your car. However, if you are going to use it for navigation, you should use a docking station. Simply holding the phone in your hand can distract you from driving. Having your phone in a docking station on your dashboard can help eliminate distractions so you can focus on driving.
This may be obvious, but phone calls can cause major distractions while driving. In California, it is required to use a hands-free device to talk on the phone while driving. This can be in the form of earphones, Bluetooth headset, or by connecting your phone to your car if it has that capability. However, keep in mind that talking on the phone, even with a hands-free device, can distract you from driving.
Smartphones have many benefits, but it’s important to limit the use of them while you are driving. This will help you stay focused on driving, keeping you and others around you safe on the road.
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