Ntsako Mthethwa
3 minute read
22 Sep 2016
3:07 pm

Texting and driving more like texting and dying

Ntsako Mthethwa

Put down the phone. Keep your eyes on the road. Stay safe.

Stop texting while driving – Oprah said it, so now we all have to listen. Texting while driving can land you in some serious hot water.

Just recently, a friend of mine ploughed unswervingly into the rear of another car. He was driving at 100km/h; he admitted to never have seen the car because he was texting at the time. More people than ever are doing it in our ever-more connected society.

A study conducted by the Virginia Tech Driving Institute in America revealed that people who text while driving are 23 times more likely to crash.

Texting while driving has become the common cause of road accidents not only in South Africa but in the whole world. Researchers explain that texting while driving is a risky overload of the driver’s cognitive function. It’s like driving blind for five seconds at a time and it slows your braking reaction speed by at least 18%. That’s the difference between nothing going wrong and killing yourself and others.

As the world develops technologically, more people engage more on social networks. I don’t find anything wrong with this trend, but no text discussion is important enough to risk losing your life or taking someone else’s. Texting behind the wheel isn’t only a choice you’re making but a law you’re breaking.

Here’s why you must not text while driving:

Protect pedestrians

With the latest technology equipped with cars, you can simply connect your phone to your car so it reads every message that comes through.

Humans are smaller and less noticeable than vehicles, making the likelihood of you seeing a pedestrian in your peripheral vision while looking at your cellphone slim.

Texting while driving is more debilitating to your reaction time than driving under the influence of alcohol

According to a study, using a cellphone to read or send text messages delays a driver’s reaction time as much or more than the legal limit of alcohol consumption.

You are more likely to crash

In 2011, 1.3 million automobile accidents were caused by texting while driving. Texting while driving makes you 23% more likely to be involved in an accident.

It only takes a couple of seconds to park your vehicle

If you simply cannot resist the urge to check your text messages (or take a call) while driving, take the time to pull off of the roadway and park your vehicle before picking up your cellphone. Red lights and stop signs are not safe places to check you cell phone.

Find a parking lot or pull over at a safe location on the side of the road.

Hands-free technology is easy to use and widely available

Many brands of new cars are equipped with technology that connects your cellphone to your vehicle’s audio system. If you drive an older-model vehicle, invest in a cellphone with Bluetooth technology and voice-recognition technology that will allow you to send and receive messages hands-free.

Texting while driving is a very dangerous act

Put down the phone. Keep your eyes on the road. Stay safe.

Safety on our roads is our concern. Never be too afraid to speak up, no matter where in the car you’re sitting. If you’re riding with someone who’s texting, be honest and tell them it makes you uncomfortable.



You can always offer to answer the driver’s phone if it happens to ring while they’re driving. After all, the end to texting while driving starts right here, right now, with you.