Distracted driving and phones – Are you addicted?

6 November 2018

Cell phone use while driving is illegal in SA, but many people ignore that rule simply because they’re addicted to their phone. Ask yourself these questions to determine whether your addiction to your mobile phone is endangering your life or someone else’s.

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Distracted driving and phones – Are you addicted?

Be honest (there’s no judging here!): How often do you check your phone while you’re driving? Cell phone use while driving is illegal in SA, but many people ignore that rule simply because they’re addicted to their phone. Ask yourself these questions to determine whether your addiction to your mobile phone is endangering your life or someone else’s.

Do you check your phone every hour?

We all suffer from a mild fear of missing out but not being able to put the phone down for an hour may be a sign of something more serious, such as an addiction to technology. Social media apps are purposely designed using algorithms based on the systems found in gambling games and machines. Refresh and reward systems encourage you to continuously turn to technology for reassurance and mental stimulation.

Do you keep your phone close by while you're driving?

There are several laws in place around using mobile phones when driving and all of these are routed in basic safety for both drivers and pedestrians. Phones have alerts and bright lights to keep your attention and this can make you lose focus on the outside world and your surroundings. When travelling at speeds, loss of concentration can have devasting effects in a fraction of the time you would expect. Your reaction times are not what they should be, and you can even make the wrong decision as you haven’t had time to fully account for everything around you.

Is your mood affected by text messages and phone notifications?

If you’re checking your phone when you’re driving, then you are not thinking about the road. If you’re having a heated text conversation with someone, it will likely result in you becoming a more aggressive and angrier driver and you might make decisions can be quite out of character.

How close have you come to having an accident caused by texting?

If you are being honest with yourself, is there a time when the importance of checking your phone has had unintended consequences? If so, the memory of the shock should be enough to make you change bad habits around using your mobile but maybe it hasn’t. If this is the case, then you need to take some important steps before something happens that can’t be undone or isn’t a near miss. There is nothing wrong with turning the phone off when you get in the car. If you’re worried you will miss something, then simply change your voicemail to let people know that you’re driving, and you will respond when you reach your destination. You can also put out a post on your most used social media apps saying that you will be unavailable for the length of your journey but that you will see them at the other end.

Driving distracted can be fatal for you or someone else, and it’s a pointless and heartbreaking risk to take.

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