The Risk You Take

Kevin Gualberti, Writer

Take a moment and imagine that you are driving a car at 80 miles-per-hour down the interstate. You get a text saying “Are you still coming?” from your friend, on the way to the wedding they invited you to. You look down, pick up your phone, and start to respond. But the text was never sent. It is still on that phone, drafted in your messages, waiting to be sent. You could have surprised them. You could have seen them. You could have been the best man at the wedding. Yet, you took the chance to respond. That split second of distraction cost you the next breath of air you. You are now no longer the best man your friend is waiting for. Now you’re only in someone’s imagination. Someone’s heart. Someone has just lost a friend. Someone just lost you because you got distracted on the road. Was it really worth it?
There are 3 types of distracted driving: visual, manual, and cognitive. Each is easy to slip into if you don’t focus on the task at hand: driving safely. Picking up your drink, checking the map, or even looking at the dog in your backseat that is playing around are all distractions. Each thing you do that does not pertain to driving is a risk you are taking to do something that can wait. Looking down to pick up your drink while driving can wait five minutes. You need to focus on driving; if not, you put yourself at a high risk of not making it to your destination.
Visually distracted driving addresses anything that makes you take your eyes off the road. Think back to if you have ever taken your eyes off the road. Did you speed up, or accidentally start turning into another lane? Most likely you did, because when you take your eyes off the road, you’re at double the risk of getting into an accident than normal. Manual distracted driving is anytime you take your hands off of the wheel. The wheel is the center of your car; it controls your steering, and without holding onto it you are going to go everywhere besides straight. Cognitive distracted driving includes anything that causes you to take your mind off of driving. One of the most common examples is the average handheld cellphone, the most used item in some people’s lives. The amount of time it takes for you to check your cellphone is the amount of time that it can take for you to go flying out of your seat into the road because you forgot to focus.
Distracted drivers cause 58% of crashes among teens, and you could be one of them if you don’t focus. Even just looking down at the food you dropped has now put you at a higher risk of getting into an accident. When eating or drinking, you put yourself at three times more risk for crashing your car, as well as five times more likely to crash when you look at your phone. Each distraction creates a moment where you are putting yourself and everyone around you at the risk of death or injury. Don’t look at your phone, instead focus on the road you are driving on. A two-ton car is a weapon, and you’re the trigger and scope. Don’t pull the trigger at someone else, or yourself. Keep yourself and everyone around you safe by not focusing on a distraction. Make it to the wedding you’re heading to. Each destination is waiting for your arrival, so be there.