Sunday, August 19, 2012

Let's Talk Reading A Text At FIFTY-ONE Feet PER Second!


I came across another reminder piece about driving and texting.  Let me be up front about this...  If you seriously think it's O.K. to drive and text, you are not in my top tier of humans with brains.  It's about as stupid of an action is anyone could ever try to attempt.  Period.

Sure, you think "It's OK" because "you'll be fine."  (Then again, there are roughly 67,000 bicycle riders a year with head injuries who thought it would not happen to them too.)

There's an ongoing ad campaign going on where people are talking about someone close to them who died while texting.  The fact that they have to run ads to remind people that sending or reading text messages is dangerous is a real head-smacker to me.  But I like the campaign.  It's sad for the people involved, but maybe they're hitting some receded smart gene cell in some folks brains.

Here's a perspective to think about:

When reading a text, some tests from Car and Driver showed some scary extra response times to hit the brakes. (See header image)

Now I know that what most people think is, I'm only looking away from the road "for just a second."  But I don't want to be in front of you when you look away for that second.

Now let's really consider how long you look away, and if you think about it, it's not a single second.  Not if you're reading a sentence or two.  I don't think you can look down, open up and read a sentence or two in "just a second."

And sure... maybe you look far ahead down the road and nothing apparent is happening.  But if you lived in my neighborhood, I have some seriously STUPID neighbors who just step right out into traffic, expecting the right of way.  (I've had to slam on my brakes and stop short of a family by less than a foot... because they just stepped right out in front me without nary a worry.)  BTW:  All pedestrians do not always have the right of way.  They only do when it is safe to go.

So it's not always about you and all the precautions you might take to "safely" read or send a text.

Check out this chart I've pulled together, showing just how many feet per second a car covers at different speeds.

  • At 25 mph, you're moving at 37 feet per second. (FPS)
  • At 35 mph, 51 fps.
  • At 55 mph, 81 fps.
  • At 70 mph, 103 fps.

That's a lot of ground to cover to look down for "a second" if you ask me.  Those public service ads where people lament the loss of a loved one just because they were sending or reading a text.

I'm not trying to tell you what to do.  That's up to you.  I'm just presenting a few words as food for thought, because traveling up to 50 or 75 extra feet before you can react to a situation is a scary thought.  That's several car lengths.





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