If you’re like most Pennsylvanians, you use your smart phone a lot: looking up directions, texting your spouse or kids, snapping photos and keeping up with social media. Smart phones are great for those things. Unfortunately, they’re so addictive that many people keep using them while they’re in the car, which can lead to disastrous results.
We’ve known for a while that distracted driving is a huge problem. However, a recent study reveals that it’s even worse than we thought. Much, much worse.
Literally 100 Times Worse Than Previously Known
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have put the number of distracted drivers on the road at 660,000 on a given day. However, a comprehensive survey from Zendrive, a car-focused app maker, suggests that the real number of distracted drivers is closer to 69 million. In other words, the distracted driving problem in the United States is literally 100 times worse than previously reported.
Philadelphia: One Of The Most Distracted Metros In The Country
The same study had even more bad news for Pennsylvanians. Not only has distracted driving gotten worse in almost every single state in the past year, but Zendrive also ranked Philadelphia as one of the worst metro areas in the country for it. In fact, only 12 other cities were ranked lower. If you’ve ever thought that Philadelphia drivers just aren’t paying attention, you’re right.
How To Fight Phone Distraction
One of the most alarming things about this study is that 90% of the drivers surveyed believed they were safe behind the wheel, including those that were actively using their phones on the road. People are notoriously bad at estimating danger levels, and this is yet another example.
To combat phone addiction behind the wheel, here are some steps you can take:
- Set up your apps before you leave. Most distracted driving takes place just after people pull onto the road. Take an extra 30 seconds to set up your map and put on your favorite tunes before you put your car in drive. That way you can focus on what you’re doing when it counts.
- Use your phone hands-free. Mount it to the dashboard, put it in a cupholder, or active the hands-free mode on your phone. Whatever you do, don’t handle it while you’re supposed to be driving.
- Put it away. If you still can’t fight the urge to text and drive, your best option may be storing the phone somewhere you can’t get it. This could be the glove compartment, the back seat or even the trunk. No text is worth another person’s life (or your own).
These may seem like small things, but they can go a long way towards keeping you safe on the road, along with your fellow drivers. Cell phones cause a huge number of serious car accidents, which are entirely preventable. If you set the example and do your part, others may do the same.