Answering a text message while driving may not seem like a big deal, but taking your eyes off the road can have serious consequences, including criminal penalties, administrative fines, and higher car insurance and liability insurance premiums if you cause even a minor accident. Unfortunately, distracted driving is on the rise, resulting in serious injuries and fatalities, most of which could have been prevented if more drivers watched the road.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Responding to a text may seem like it only takes a moment, but a lot can happen while you're distracted. People who read or respond to messages look away from the road for five seconds on average. If you’re traveling at 55 mph, this is approximately the same as driving the length of a football field blindfolded. If you wouldn't close your eyes for five seconds while driving, car insurance experts say you shouldn't respond to a text, either.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that distracted driving resulted in nearly 4,000 fatalities in 2015 alone, with over 391,000 more people injured. On any given day, more than 600,000 drivers are texting while driving, putting everyone around them at risk. Their decision to respond to a text can leave other motorists and pedestrians, including you and your loved ones, with scars that last a lifetime.
How Distracted Driving Impacts You
Texting while driving is so dangerous that many states have enacted bans to protect drivers and pedestrians. In many jurisdictions, you can be pulled over for texting while driving. You may also be required to pay a fine or receive points on your license.
If your texting leads to an accident, you'll most likely be held responsible for the damages and could find yourself facing reckless driving charges. Afterward, you can expect a significant increase in your monthly car insurance premiums. If you try to buy a new policy, you may find it difficult to obtain insurance at all.
No message is worth the risk of an accident. Driving demands your full attention, so keep your phone out of sight until you reach your destination.