Four in ten drivers have admitted to using their mobile phones while driving. It has come to light that the ‘fear of missing out’ (or FOMO) could be putting road users at high risk, with motorists admitting to reading text messages and checking social media platforms while driving.
In principle, I think the majority of us can agree that using a phone or tablet while driving is wrong, so what is encouraging people to do this?
Driving while using a mobile phone is illegal, yet one in three admit to doing this.
We understand that having your smartphone on you while driving can be useful for many reasons, as long as you are not using it as a potentially dangerous distraction. The consequences of preoccupied driving can result in far worse than ‘missing out’, and this must be remembered and reinforced, particular by younger drivers who may be more inclined to check their notifications while behind the wheel.
How are mobile phones distracting drivers?
FOMO is influencing dangerous and careless driving. In the digital age, social media is a prominent part of people’s lives. With events, plans and chats being consistently shared online, we have developed a new found emotion – the feeling that an interesting or exciting event is happening elsewhere and we’re missing it, and this is usually aroused by social media.
Figures obtained by the Press Association under the Freedom of Information Act show that police caught almost 6,000 drivers using their devices under tougher new penalties behind the wheel. We question, what could be so important that it could put your life and the lives of others at risk?
By reading comments and replying to other social users, you are distracted, even if momentarily, you are taking the focus away from driving, which is possibly fatal.
The key findings
A shocking number of people have admitted to using social media networks on the road, with the younger driving generation being the worst offenders. While just 3% of over 55s admitted to using Facebook while behind the wheel, a whopping 34% of 18-34-year-olds do the same.
- 50% of those who used their mobile phone behind the wheel have answered a call without a hands-free kit while driving
- A quarter of drivers who check their phones are on Facebook while driving
- 37% of drivers (over a third) keep their phones in their pockets while driving
- 1 in 8 drivers have uploaded a photo or video to social media from their mobile phone while behind the wheel
With these shocking statistics coming to light, we doubt whether even hands-free calls may be a distraction while drivers are supposed to be completely alert.
The impacts of using a mobile while driving
When distracted by your phone, you could miss obstacles including road signs and threats, you could drive at inconsistent speeds and with one or both hands off of the wheel, you will have less control over your vehicle.
Drivers who use their mobile phone for social networking or texting have their reaction time slowed to just over 37%.
The risks of FOMO
1 in 6 smartphone owners check their mobile devices more than 50 times a day! With the likes of Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, LinkedIn, Tumblr, YouTube, Pinterest and so much more, we certainly understand how the constant flow of notifications, snaps, retweets and mentions must be distracting to everyday life.
However, when it comes to driving, there must be some personal guidelines set to ensure that these unmindful actions are not taking place at such a crucial time.
How to avoid distractions from your phone while driving
With 61% of those using phones to check notifications, Exminster Garage has produced a to-do list to ensure that drivers are not putting lives in danger for the sake of sending a Snapchat. To stay safe while driving, you do not have to lock your phone away completely.
- Instead of using your phone for directions, purchase a satnav
- Put your phone on silent to reduce temptation
- Turn your phone to airplane mode
- Turn your phone off when driving
- Temporarily disable notifications
- Enable voice detections such as Siri and Google to avoid the desire to type or handhold your device
- If your phone does distract you and you need to make a call, pull over or ask them to call you once you’ve reached your destination
The risks of getting caught with a mobile phone while driving
In addition to the high risk to yourself, other drivers and pedestrians, you will face a penalty of three points and a £60 fine which will increase your car insurance premium. If you are caught within two years of passing your test, the points will double to 6, so for young drivers, car insurance could become extremely expensive.
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