EUGENE, Ore. — We know the risks and consequences of texting and driving, but it’s still so hard for some not to pick up that phone.
It all starts with our way of thinking. We see the number of tickets officers hand out and the graphic ads on TV, but experts say many of us make the mistake of thinking statistics don’t apply to us.
But the harsh reality is, distracted driving kills. So why do we reach for the phone when we hear it ring? Dr. Ellen Peters says we do it for two reasons: out of habit and the assumption that nothing will ever happen to us.
“When it’s familiar it feels safe. We get lulled into that safety of, ‘well, it didn’t happen the last time I did it, it didn’t happen the time before’ and as a result, it seems more okay to do,” says Dr. Peters.
Experts say the urge to reach for the phone behind the wheel is just as intense as anywhere else, standing in line or at the dinner table. But when behind the wheel, it’s a matter of life and death.
Government researchers found distracted driving kills thousands of people each year and injures nearly half of a million people.
Experts say sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 4.5 seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field, blindfolded.