We can all agree that looking down and fooling around with your smartphone or other digital device while piloting a two-ton hunk of steel, rubber, and glass down the road at a rapid speed is not a good idea. You’ve probably cursed at many a driver while observing them talking on the phone or texting away furiously, eyes off of the road. And yet, I bet you’ve done the same—furtively tried to peck out a message or search for the closest Taco Bell, glancing up and down, trying not to rear-end the Buick in front of you.
It’s really time to stop, though. A new study from Zendrive—a driving analytics company—looked at the data from 3.1 million anonymous drivers who logged 570 million trips over 5.6 billion miles between December 2016 and February 2017, and found that drivers were using their phones 88% of the time. In comparison, a 2016 study from the AAA discovered that 81% of people surveyed said that texting or emailing while driving is a “threat to safety,” and 78% said it’s “completely unacceptable.” Clearly there’s a disconnect out on the roads.
For the study—the largest distracted driving study to date—researchers also showed that the average time on the phone was three and a half minutes for an hour trip, which is alarming when you understand that it only takes two seconds to bump up your chance of playing bumper cars on the highway 20-fold, and, at 55 mph, two seconds is long enough to go the length of two basketball courts, or 188 feet.
Researchers also highlighted the fact that talking on the phone, either holding it in your hands or using speaker phone, increases your chance of having an accident by up to four times, and when using a phone while driving your brain actually diverts resources and attention away from the act of driving and navigating.
Try shutting down your phone entirely before getting in the car, or if it’s an emergency, pulling over to chat or text. You could help save the lives of your loved ones in the car, and those around you. Plus, you won’t be a hypocrite anymore, and that’s a win for your integrity.