This is how far you’re driving blind when you glance at your phone


  • Smartphones
  • Monday, 06 Jul 2020

It's as tempting as it is dangerous. Trauma surgeons are pleading with drivers to stop glancing at their phones. — dpa

Generally there’s no safety issue with speaking to someone through a phone on loudspeaker, and most countries don’t have specific laws against this.

But even if you keep your eyes focused on the road while talking, a swipe or tap of some sort will be needed to answer and hang up your phone, not to mention all the distractions that come from a phone sending you notifications.

Even a quick glance at your phone while driving at 50 km/h will mean you’ve driven 14 metres without looking at the road. Take just three seconds to skim a WhatsApp message, and you’ll have covered 42 metres at this speed.

On the motorway at 120 km/h, this turns into 100 metres of blind driving.

Trauma surgeons in emergency rooms say this isn’t just a problem for car drivers. Cyclists and people riding scooters are also being injured by risking a quick glance at their phone.

Some carmakers have been trying to end driver distraction by allowing drivers to speak to a built-in assistant to access their phone’s functions with a command like “Hey Mercedes, call dad”.

But for all other drivers using swiping their phone to answer calls, Germany’s organisation of trauma surgeons (DGOU) and Tuev, a leading safety inspection agency, are recommending no mobile phone use at the wheel.

Aside from the safety risks, if it can be proven that you were using a phone during a crash, you can also expect to be paying most of the damages. – dpa

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