Handheld devices cause distraction
Darlene • AGUILA, AZ
The University of Phoenix
Handheld devices and driving do not mix. They lead to distracted drivers. Distraction can lead to the difference between life and death for you or someone else. I have personal experience with this and a certain bad driving choice involving a cell phone a few years ago led to some very valuable learning experiences for me.
Driving is a task that requires full concentration. You’re driving a large heavy vehicle, often surrounded by many others and at speeds where the smallest of distractions could result in fatal mistakes. A few years back I made a bad driving decision, one that I shouldn’t have made and knew better than to do. I was travelling home on the freeway that I travel every single day. On this particular day the traffic was that dangerous kind that speeds up to a normal 65mph speed then comes to almost a complete stop then starts over again. Fast then slow, fast then slow. That type of traffic alone should have indicated to me that greater attention would be needed. I also knew that texting or playing with a phone or trying to multi task with a phone while driving takes away that much needed concentration on the traffic around me and is a distraction that should not be there when driving. That certain day I was distracted. My boyfriend at the time had been texting me and there was a lot on my mind. Instead of waiting until I got home like I should have I was attempting to drive in the thick slow and go freeway traffic while also multi-tasking with my phone. I was distracted and my full attention was not on the road. While I had put my phone away at the time of the accident I was still just distracted in general. I remember the moment vividly when I looked ahead of me and what was normal traffic just a few seconds before was now at a solid stop. I placed my breaks on, but too late to stop myself from rear ending the vehicle in front of me. Luckily a police officer was nearby and able to direct the cars off the road. I was in tears, shock. I couldn’t believe what had happened. It was my first car accident while driving and completely my fault for being distracted. Not only had I crunched the front of my car, but I had dented the back of another person’s car and he had not deserved it. I don’t think there was a time I had ever felt more horrible in my life. I had made bad decisions which had led to an accident on a major freeway and I was very lucky that the person behind me had been able to stop in time to prevent further accident. I knew the consequences were mine. I had to face a large ticket and points against my license. My car was totaled and that led to the stress of a car rental until my insurance claim was completed.
I learned a lot from this experience. I learned that the warnings are there for a reason, they are for my own safety and also the safety of those around me. Driving is a privilege that needs to be treated with great respect and should have the full focus and attention of the person operating the vehicle. Using handheld devices while driving detracts from the concentration needed. I vow to never allow lack of focus to impact my driving ever again. I will respect my vehicle, respect the road, and most importantly respect safety. This experience is why I agree that handheld devices should be banned while driving.