Nowadays, with the advent of mobile phones, more and more people use them while driving. Distracted driving while talking, messaging, or viewing information on a phone has become one of the leading causes of accidents. However, few people consider the use of phones while driving a serious issue and tend to view it lightheartedly. Therefore, to curb the number of crashes and serious injuries, the use of mobile phones while driving should be banned.
The Dangers of Talking on the Phone While Driving
Talking and answering mobile phone calls seriously impacts a driver’s ability to exercise longitudinal control, which inexorably leads to compromising drivers’ ability to recognize signals and lengthens their reaction time. The latest statistics show that talking on a mobile phone increases the risk of being involved in an accident fourfold, at the same time reducing the driver’s reaction time by 50%. Moreover, drivers’ judgment may be clouded by emotions that arise during phone conversations and they may not interpret road signs correctly. Lipovac et al. (2017) state that “contents of conversation is the key factor in maintaining attention and driving performance” (para. 1). When the conversation takes an emotional turn, drivers may be much less able to understand what is happening on the road.
The Dangers of Messaging
Messaging is even more harmful than making or receiving calls while driving. Since massages require typing, a driver may be unable to monitor the road properly. Therefore, he may not maintain the correct position in the lane and get into an accident even at a minimal speed. Phuksuksakul et al. state that “While texting, the driver’s eyes do not focus on the act of driving [which] results in lateral movement from the original position” (p. 8). The situation may be exacerbated by the driver’s inability to view the road in mirrors when maneuvering. Most drivers believe they can work in a multitask mode but that is not true. The human brain has rather limited capacities when performing several actions simultaneously. At one time, a person can perceive only a small part of the environment around him or her. Therefore, when the situation on the road changes quickly, a driver who is massaging will be unable to react in time, thus endangering himself or herself and others on the road. It has long been found that drivers drive much more chaotically when they write than when they drink, eat, or listen to music while driving.
The Dangers of Viewing Information
Viewing information on a smartphone can be as dangerous as massaging since it distracts the driver from the road situation. Drivers tend to keep farther distances from the car in front of them and their reaction time significantly drops. Moreover, viewing information enhances the risks of near misses as drivers are absorbed in what they read. Viewing information, as well as messaging, carries all the hazards associated with one-hand driving, namely a loss of vehicle control and “lateral movement from the original position” (Zhang et al., 2019, para 9.). Speed requirements for traffic are also likely to be ignored resulting in creating dangerous situations on the roads and huge fines for a driver. While reading from the phone, people often drive through a forbidding traffic light signal or use the brake pedal late to stop the vehicle.
In conclusion, the use of mobile phones for talking, messaging, or viewing information may endanger drivers and pedestrians alike. The adverse circumstances of mobile phone usage while driving include the enhanced risks of accidents and near misses, a deficit of concentration, and a possible loss of vehicle control. While mobile phones are vital for drivers in case of emergency, it is advisable to turn them off and keep them out of reach when driving.
Lipovac, K., Đerić, M., Tešić, M., Andrić, Z., & Marić, B. (2017). Mobile phone use while driving-literary review. Transportation research part F: traffic psychology and behaviour, 47, 132-142.
Phuksuksakul, N., Kanitpong, K., & Chantranuwathana, S. (2021). Factors affecting behavior of mobile phone use while driving and effect of mobile phone use on driving performance. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 151, 105945.
Zhang, L., Cui, B., Yang, M., Guo, F., & Wang, J. (2019). Effect of using mobile phones on driver’s control behavior based on naturalistic driving data. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(8), 1464.