Most teenagers get their first cell phone when they start to drive. Why? In case there is an emergency. But it seems like cell phones have created an emergency on the road. Distracted driving is second on the list of major dangers for teen drivers, and there is no greater distraction out there than a teen on their cell phone.
Studies show that you’re four times more likely to get into a crash if you are talking or texting on your cell phone. Cell phones are one of the worst distractions that you could give anyone while they’re driving, let alone someone who is a newbie on the road.
You may ask, “Why is a cell phone any different than putting on makeup, or tuning the radio?” Because of a thing called “perceptual blindness.” The idea is that when a person focuses their attention on one task, like sending a text message, they fail to notice unexpected distractions, even when they are looking right at them.
It’s just like sitting in class, daydreaming about how great New Moon will be when it comes out in theaters – your teacher is right in front of you, but you have no idea what she said, and chances are you don’t even know what she’s talking about.
So what should you do if you have a cell phone?
- Turn it off when you’re driving. It’s impossible for something to be a distraction if it doesn’t make any noise.
- If there is a phone call that you absolutely have to make (i.e. an emergency phone call), pull into a safe, well lit parking lot and make your call.
- If you have a passenger, and you must answer a call, have them do so for you.
For more information on distracted driving, visit the major dangers for teen drivers.