The desire to stay in constant contact contributes to the risk everyone has the modern New York roads. Many people struggle with compulsive mobile phone use and will have a hard time ignoring incoming text messages or emails while driving. Some people try to stay connected while driving.
There is no safe amount of phone use at the wheel. Many people lie to themselves and pretend that they can safely text while driving. People may think that if they just read a text rather than respond to it, they won’t be in danger. Others may pick up their phone when they stop at an intersection or a red light.
The problem with this behavior is that it ignores the physiological impact of screen-based driving distraction. Even if someone thinks they have a system that allows them to text while driving without endangering themselves or others, they may overestimate their own abilities.
Neuroscience shows that distraction persists
No matter how well you think you can text while driving, science shows that there are limitations to your abilities. Your brain cannot truly multitask. It can only fully focus on one function at a time. You should stay fully focused on the road in front of you and the control panel for your vehicle, not the mobile phone in your cup holder.
When you allocate your mental resources to the use of a digital device, it will take almost half a minute for you to fully refocus on the job of driving. Researchers have found that the mental hangover from reading or sending a text message lasts 27 seconds after you set your phone back down. Simply put, there is no way to text while driving unless you actually leave the flow of traffic and wait 30 seconds after sending the message.
While you may follow these rules, in no small part because New York has a law against texting while driving, other drivers likely will not. You will probably cross paths with many distracted drivers each day during your commute, and one of them could eventually make a mistake that totals your car or injures you.