Drunk driving is a scourge. It’s one of the most unsafe things a person can do on the road. Driving while intoxicated dramatically increases your chances of hurting yourself or others because the chances of getting into an accident while inebriated skyrocket.
In fact, 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S. in 2016 were caused by drunk driving. So, it’s easy to see how drunk driving is incredibly dangerous, and by and large, people understand this danger (94% of Americans believe drunk driving is a serious safety issue).
But driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs isn’t the only dangerous thing you can do on the road. There are other behaviors that are just as dangerous – and sometimes more dangerous – than drunk driving.
Driving While Texting
Texting while driving, simply put, is one of the most dangerous things you can do while behind the wheel.
In fact, research says texting while driving is at least twice as dangerous as drunk driving. One study from the University of Connecticut said that using a phone to text can be four to six times as distracting as being under the influence of alcohol at lower levels of intoxication. So much of your brain is occupied when you’re texting that there’s little room for processing the thousands of signals and stimuli coming from what’s in front of and all around you.
Driving While Drowsy
Texting while driving is bad, but so is falling asleep behind the wheel.
Research has shown that driving while drowsy can be just as debilitating as drunk driving. In fact, there are a lot of similarities between driving while intoxicated and driving while sleepy, such as slower reflexes, increased response times, and lower awareness of what’s going on around you.
It’s so dangerous that one out of every six deaths from car accidents come from drowsy driving. In fact, studies have shown that driving after being awake for extended periods of time can be several times more dangerous than driving after having two drinks.
If you’re sleepy, don’t get behind the wheel.
Driving While Using Hands-Free Technology
Virtually every new car, truck, or SUV produced today has the ability to let you talk on your phone without using your hands. This development was applauded by safety advocates as being a less dangerous way to use your phone – but it’s still very dangerous.
It goes back to your brain’s ability to focus and process. Studies have shown that using a hands-free device is still as distracting as texting or driving drunk. To that point, one study from the University of Utah found that when compared to hands-free drivers, drivers with a 0.08 BAC level actually drove better than people using hands-free technology and talking on the phone.
Moral of the Story: Don’t Drive Impaired
Driving while impaired – whether it’s because you’re intoxicated or you’re distracted – results in tens of thousands of injuries and fatalities each year. Your brain simply can’t do everything at once. It has to prioritize, and if you inhibit its ability to do its job, then bad things will result
So, don’t drink and then drive. Don’t drive while intoxicated at any level. Don’t text while driving. Don’t step behind the wheel of a car when you’re sleepy or drowsy. And don’t use your phone at all while driving if you can help it – even if it’s hands-free.
If we all did these things, the roads would be much safer for all of us.
At Wettermark Keith, we provide legal consultation and service to those who have been seriously injured at the hands of another, especially while on the road. If you have been a victim of a motor vehicle accident, contact our personal injury lawyers for a free consultation.