By Chantal Nguyen
“Arrive alive, don’t text and drive.”
“Don’t tempt fate; that text can wait.”
Despite these catchy slogans about the perils of texting and driving, a recent survey conducted by AT&T found that even though 98% of people believe texting and driving is dangerous, 75% of them text and drive anyway. This alarming discrepancy can be attributed to the scientific allure of receiving text messages; receiving notifications for texts releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine which controls pleasure and reward centers in the brain, thereby leading to feelings of joy and excitement.
In this age of unprecedented technological advancement and the growth of social media, the desire for instant gratification has become an addiction to most teenagers and adults. As a result, many lack the self-control required to wait before looking at their phones for the latest updates. Consequences of this inability to exert discipline and patience include causing major automobile accidents, harming innocent pedestrians crossing the street, and severely injuring passengers of multiple vehicles; if you Google search “texting and driving,” those images should be all you need to tell yourself that texting can and should wait. Your friends and family would very much rather see you alive than see that you answered their texts 47 seconds after receiving them.
The minimum amount of time it takes to look at your phone for messages is five seconds. If you are driving 55 miles per hour, you just drove the entire length of a football field without paying attention to the road. A little child could have crossed the street with his or her family, the car in front of you could have come to an abrupt stop, or a fallen tree could have obstructed your lane – and you would have seen nothing if you were texting.
Driving is a serious responsibility, so to protect your life and others on the road, exercise caution and self-control—don’t text and drive. Fatal accidents caused by distracted driving are easily preventable through the use of common sense. Here are a couple of ways you can be a responsible driver:
1) Wait until reaching your final destination before answering texts or touching your phone.
2) If that wait proves unbearable for any reason, pull into a nearby parking lot, park the car, and then answer your texts.
3) Turn your phone on silent so you’re not tempted to answer texts when you hear a notification.
4) Practice self-control and independence from technology by spending at least 5 minutes a day not connected to your smartphone or other mobile devices.
Your life has so much value to others, and if you compromise your well-being by texting and driving, you hurt your friends and family, in addition to the friends and family of the innocent victims. If you need another good reason not to text and drive, just remember:
“Honk if you love Jesus. Text and drive if you want to meet him.”