It’s simple: Texting at the wheel doesn’t just distract you a little or take your eyes off the road for a few insignificant seconds. It also short-circuits the part of your brain that keeps you driving in a straight line on the road.
And not even an ace car jockey like you is a match for a brain that’s gone AWOL.
University of Houston researchers, hoping to learn why drive-texting is so deadly (see the frightening stats below), put students in high-fidelity simulators and distracted them with texting as well as complex and emotional questions. In all cases, their car handling became jittery—but only texting caused dangerous lane deviations and unsafe driving, because it severed the hand-eye connection needed to activate the “sixth sense” that keeps us on course.
So put your damn phone in the glove compartment, let a passenger hold it, or use voice activation, which research has found is safer than holding a phone. Here’s what else texting while driving does to your body:
Texting while driving makes you 23 times more likely to crash. It kills 11 teenage drivers every day.
Driving with phone in hand causes 1,600,000 accidents and 330,000 injuries every year. Texting and driving is responsible for about 25 percent of all accidents.
Slows Reaction Speed
Slows your brake-reaction speed by 18 percent and makes you about 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk.
Takes Your Eyes Off the Road
Texting while driving affects you the same as driving after 4 beers and leads to a 400% increase in time spent with your eyes off the road.
Essentially Driving Blind
Texting and driving is similar to driving blind for 5 seconds at a time.