Your smartphone and your car are a deadly combination

Blue car

19 Feb Your smartphone and your car are a deadly combination

Two thirds of the UK population own a smart phone with the average user checking their phone 150 times a day. The latter statistic highlighs the ever-growing digital dependency that many of us currently face. Nowhere is it more important to deal with this problem than on our roads.

In the UK it is illegal to use a mobile phone whilst driving, unless speaking with a hands free kit. However the rapid rise in smartphone adoption has been accompanied by a rise in road accidents caused by phone use. Since 2009 specifically there has been a spike in the number of accidents attributed to ‘distracted driving’.


Using a phone whilst driving

It is known through research that drivers who use a mobile phone, whether it is hand-held or hands free, become more distracted than those who do not. Those drivers become less aware of what is happening on the road, fail to maintain proper lane position, have slower reaction times and feel more stressed. Distracted drivers are four times more likely to crash resulting in injuries or fatalities to themselves and other people. Despite this knowledge, and the number of deaths caused by using mobile phones in cars rising each year, 500,000 motorists are still using their mobile phone while driving each day.

Department for Transport figures reveal that 378 accidents that involved mobile phone usage were reported in 2012. Those accidents resulted in 548 casualties and 17 deaths. This number is now at an all-time high and only expected to rise further in the future.

Morning drive

Texting or drinking which is worse?

One study shows that on average a group of sober drivers had a reaction time to hazards of just over 1 second, after drinking this reaction time rose to 1.2 seconds, which rose yet again when the group was asked to talk on a handsfree device after drinking.

The same group was asked to send a text whilst driving, which resulted in the average reaction time of the drivers jumping to two seconds. The study clearly showed that texting whilst driving impacted the driver’s reaction times more than alcohol did. Drivers got closer to the cars in front and had a tendancy to drift between lanes, with one of the participants from the group crashing his car whilst texting.

The number of distracted driving accidents rising each year only emphasises the ever growing digital addiction many of us face. It’s time to log off, put down your phone and concentrate on what is around you, especially on the roads. Our digital detox retreats are an ideal way to learn how to disconnect completely from the digital world and take home techniques to help you switch off at home. And that includes while driving.

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