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Is it safe to text at red lights?

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

All new drivers are taught that they should not text and drive. Even those who learned how to drive decades ago have generally seen enough news reports and PSAs that they understand that texting and driving is a prohibited and distracting activity.

However, many people just believe this is because they shouldn’t be looking at the phone when the car is in motion. What they will do instead is get their phone out at red lights so that they can read and respond to their text messages. Someone driving through the city may hit half a dozen lights, looking at their phone at each one. 

They believe that this is safe, but are they correct?

Distraction lasts for 27 seconds

The truth is that this is not a safe practice, and the reason is that distraction lasts for an average of 27 seconds even after someone stops doing the activity that was distracting them. For instance, pushing the side button to close the phone and setting it on the passenger seat may make someone feel like they are in control of the vehicle again, but they are actually still distracted for about half of a minute as they begin driving.

Part of the issue here is just a lack of general alertness regarding what’s happening around them. A driver who is watching traffic may anticipate mistakes that other people will make, and they may also mentally mark the location of things like pedestrians, crosswalks, cyclists, other vehicles or even animals. Someone who is looking down at their phone hasn’t done any of these mental calculations and may cause an accident shortly after they resume driving.

If you do get injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, then you need to know how to seek financial compensation for medical bills and other costs.