Texting and driving is something no one should be doing in New York City or anywhere else for that matter. Yet estimates indicate that more than 600,000 people in the U.S. are on their phones while driving at any given daylight hour. A recent study showed that four college students out of every five are texting while driving, while around half of all motorists on the road say they either send texts or receive them as they drive.
With so many people texting behind the wheel, you might assume people think this practice is a safe one. The reality, however, is that 94 percent of drivers have expressed support for outlawing texting and driving because it is so dangerous. Why are these drivers texting when they know the risks? Our New York accident lawyers know evidence indicates that they might be doing so simply out of habit.
Your Texting Habit Could Cause You to Hurt Yourself or Others
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics studied how people interact with their smartphones by installing a special device on the phones of 136 test subjects. According to the Boston Globe, phone usage was monitored and the study results showed that subjects used their phone, at least briefly, as many as 60 times every single day. In many of the situations where the subjects reached for their phones, they did so because of a trigger (some stimuli that caused them to reach for the phone). In many cases, the person using the phone also did the same series of steps, regardless of why he or she had originally picked up the phone.
Because phone use is such a repetitive task, cell phone users tend to form habits. The human brain is hard-wired for habitual behavior because habits significantly increase productivity. People, for example, don’t have to make a conscious choice to brush their teeth and change into pajamas before going to bed because they simply do these behaviors in response to certain stimuli every day and the behaviors become automatic.
When you develop a smartphone habit, however, you are not likely to break that habit just because you are in the car. In fact, because your prefrontal cortex is tied up with driving and also is the part of the brain that controls inhibition, you are actually more likely to just engage in your habitual behavior of picking up the phone even though you are driving. When the cell phone rings or dings to alert you to a text message or call, your brain and body will just want to respond the way they always do and it will be hard to resist answering the phone or checking the message.
Cell phone use as a habit behind the wheel can cost you your life or can cause someone else to suffer serous injury or death if you become involved in a distracted driving accident. It is better to avoid the chances of this type of deadly accident happening by developing good habits to counteract the bad ones. For example, instead of giving in to the tendency to pick up your phone in the car all the time, get into the habit of putting your phone on silent and out-of-reach in the back seat so you will not be tempted to answer a call as you operate your vehicle. You and everyone else on the road will be safer if you can reshape your habit to avoid taking calls or sending texts while driving.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact the Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC for a free and confidential consultation. Call 1-877-313-7673.
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