Using a smartphone isn't only illegal, but also highly dangerous. When you use a smartphone, you take your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and your mind off driving. This trifecta of distraction can lead to accidents, as you statistically won't react in time to changing traffic conditions or obstacles, resulting in vehicle damage - or worse.
Decreased Reaction Time
When your attention is on your phone instead of on the road, your reaction time to unexpected situations is compromised. You may not be able to brake, swerve, or take evasive action quickly enough to avoid a collision. This is a danger to your vehicle, yourself and others around you.
The only "acceptable" method to use your smartphone visually is purely as a Sat Nav, which must be affixed to your windscreen or just out of sight on one of the air vents, ensuring it isn't obscuring your view.
As a precautionary, you should explore the option of using a standalone Sat Nav unit, and if you need to use your smartphone, consider looking into Car Infotainment Units - which include voice control for your smartphone.
Using a smartphone can impair your judgement, making it difficult to assess the speed and distance of other vehicles or pedestrians. This can lead to poor decision-making while driving.
Smartphone use can reduce your awareness of your surroundings, including pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles. This lack of judgement can result in damage to yourself, your vehicle and others - or even worse.
Texting and Driving
Texting is one of the most dangerous activities on a smartphone while driving because it requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention. Texting drivers are more likely to drift out of their lane, fail to notice traffic signals, or collide with other vehicles.
In some states in the US, they allow you to hold the phone to your ear (which is still pretty dangerous), but even the US draws the line at texting and driving.
Impact on Insurance
If you are involved in an accident while using your smartphone, it can impact your insurance rates and coverage, potentially leading to higher premiums. This also ties into the legal side of using a smartphone; and there are laws against using a smartphone while driving, and violators can face fines, license suspension, or even imprisonment in some cases.
Distracted driving laws vary significantly across different jurisdictions. In some countries, using a mobile phone while driving can lead to hefty fines or points on the driver's license, while in others, it might result in criminal charges, especially if it leads to an accident. Case studies, such as a driver receiving a jail sentence after causing a fatal accident while texting, highlight the seriousness of these offenses.
Technological Solutions to Distracted Driving
Various apps and devices are available that limit phone functionality when driving. For instance, some apps automatically activate 'Do Not Disturb' mode to silence notifications while the vehicle is in motion.
Car manufacturers are incorporating advanced infotainment systems designed to minimise distraction, with features like voice commands and simplified interfaces. The future might see AI systems capable of detecting and alerting drivers when they are distracted.
How we Think Distracted Driving will Impact us in the Future
- The rise of autonomous vehicle technology could significantly reduce distracted driving incidents, as the reliance on human attention and reaction times decreases.
- Ongoing advancements in smartphone and car technology, along with evolving social attitudes and legislation, will continue to shape the landscape of distracted driving.