And stop talking on your mobile phone while driving. A recent headline on Mashable caught my attention: “Up to 25% of Accidents are Associated with Gadgets.” We all love our technology, but now we are loving it to the point that we are unwilling to put it down while driving, sacrificing our cars, and sadly, sometimes sacrificing our lives or the lives of others. Really people?
For those of you who drive in Qatar and even those of you with drivers, you know driving here is chaotic. People speed. People flash you with their high beams while racing up on you in mammoth Landcruisers (I strongly dislike these people). People make crazy left turns from the outside lane of a roundabout. And people get in accidents at alarmingly high rates. In numbers from last year, traffic accidents were down, but projections for 2010 show about 5,000 traffic accidents happening. Of those, 226 resulted in fatalities. Very sad.
So why, in an already dangerous driving country, are we making things worse by using our mobile phones while driving? There aren’t statistics on how many of those accidents were a result of people texting while driving or checking emails on their phones, but my guess is that the percentage is quite high, and I would assume somewhat in-line with the 25% from the U.S. study Mashable cited.
And how about this: texting and driving may be worse than drinking and driving. Car and Driver Magazine did a test (on a closed course) of drivers’ reaction time in braking when not impaired, when legally drunk, when reading an email and when sending a text. Check out the results:
- Unimpaired: .54 seconds to brake
- Legally drunk: add 4 feet
- Reading e-mail: add 36 feet
- Sending a text: add 70 feet
Still think driving while sending a text or an email doesn’t impair your driving? We have all of course witnessed people talking on their cell phones or texting while driving. They are the ones that are drifting over into your lane, crossing a double yellow line, sitting at a traffic light when it is green or driving 20 kph under the speed limit in the left lane. They are dangerous!
We all share equal disgust when it comes to drinking and driving, but clearly we should also all share equal disgust with texting and driving. I would love to see more people receive tickets in Qatar for using their mobiles while driving – and make the fine high!
Still not convinced? Take a look at a powerful, yet graphic PSA done in the UK on the dangers of texting while driving. I’m not going to embed it because it is so realistic and difficult to watch, but it certainly drives the message home.
So yes, for the your sake and the safety of all the good people on the roads in Qatar, put down your mobile phones while driving.