The facts about distracted driving can’t be disputed, but if that’s the case then why are so many people texting, talking, eating, and applying makeup behind the wheel? It’s human nature to believe you’re the exception to the rule, or that your “skills” trump others. Most of the time that tendency is harmless, but when it comes to distracted driving it can be deadly for anyone on the road. There’s a reason law firms specialize in distracted driving, but you never want to “need” these professionals on your side.
How do people convince themselves that they’re “good” at texting and driving, while everyone else on the road is terrible at it? Here are a few of the most common falsities and lies people tell themselves when they can’t resist checking that Facebook notification:
1. It’ll just take a second
True, everyone functions and reads at different rates. However, government researchers with Distraction.gov report that the average person can drive the length of a football field just to check a short text. Going 55+ mph on a highway with other drivers, nobody is skilled enough to drive across a football field blind.
2. I’m at a stop sign/red light
You (probably) won’t hit anyone when you have the brakes on, but it can cause traffic issues nonetheless. Everyone has been behind a person who refuses to go when the light turns green. Plus, according to Health, there are numerous ways stress can impact the body and you don’t want to get an infuriating email when you’re a couple of seconds away from driving.
3. People with stick shifts drive with just one hand
That’s an easy excuse for using one hand to text, eat, brush your hair, flip through radio stations non-stop and the like. However, drivers with stick shifts are actually more in “drive mode” because both hands are truly required. Being in an automatic can put a driver on “auto pilot”. You may not actually need to keep your hands at 10 and 2 the entire time you’re on the road, but it gives you the most control and ensures you’re mentally present.
4. I have great reflexes
People overestimate their reflexes and defensive driving skills like they overestimate how attractive they are when they’re drunk. Even if your reflexes are better than average, that can change daily due to stress and other factors.
Driving isn’t easy and you’re not the only one on the road, so take it seriously.