I’d be lying if I said I never text while driving. But I recognize the dangers, and try to do it as little as possible. However, there are still incidents that occur. One day, I was driving down Highway 6, passing Walmart, and received a text from my brother asking what time baseball practice was. I went to reply and took my focus off my driving. This immediately endangered myself, anyone else in the car, and everyone in the cars around me. While texting, I have no ability to respond to events as they occur around me on the road. Even if I may be able to text while driving and maintain control and not crash, if someone around was to do something dumb, my ability to react safely to that is severely diminished. For example, the other day I was driving home on Williams Trace, my radio blaring 94.5 The Buzz, Erik in the passenger seat, when someone swerved to avoid debris on the road. I was able to react to this, and get out of the way, because I was focused solely on the road, with no distractions. Driving is always dangerous, because even if I drive perfectly, I could still get in a wreck because of the actions of others, over which I have no control. And by texting while driving the chances of this are greatly increased.
That also assumes that when texting, I am also able to retain 100% of my normal driving faculties. This is completely false though. Even if I am able to text without looking at my phone, my mind is still distracted from an activity that requires my full attention. And if I do take my eyes off the road to text, I might as well be driving blind. My ability to conduct myself safely is almost completely gone at that point. There have been times when I’ve been looking at my phone texting, then looked up to find myself rapidly approaching stopped cars, and had to slam on the brakes. Every time so far I’ve been lucky, but that can only last so long. Eventually I won’t look up in time, and will slam into the back of those cars. Every time I pick up my phone, I’m putting lives on the line. Who knows who’ll be in that car I hit? It could be full of little kids on their way home from soccer practice, and I just potentially hit them.
Texting while driving goes beyond just endangering myself on the road. Every time I pick up that phone, I’m potentially harming all of my passengers, plus all the cars around me. A lot of the time when I drive, my brother is in the passenger seat. So when I drive with him, its my responsibility to keep him safe. It goes beyond just making a stupid decision that affects myself, I’m making a stupid decision that affects my little brother. I’m putting his life on the line through my own foolishness and selfishness. The same holds true for anyone on the road with me. That grandmother driving to the store to pick up some groceries, or the little kid riding along with their parents to get some lunch, I’m personally putting their lives on the line when I text and drive.
There is rarely any legitimate reason to text and drive. The vast majority of the texts I receive and send are not life or death situations that require my immediate attention, but when I answer that text, I put myself in a life or death situation. I’m also failing in the responsibility that I and every other person takes up when they get behind the wheel, to drive to the best of my abilities in order to keep myself and those around me safe. It would hurt nothing if I was to simply ignore my phone for the duration of the trip, then answer any messages I’ve received. So by texting while driving, I’m putting at risk the lives of all around me, plus my own, all so that can have conversation that could wait.