Car Accident And Personal Injury Representation In Rhode Island

Is it safe to read and respond to texts or emails at a red light?

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Drivers largely understand that it is dangerous to text while driving. Reading emails, scrolling through social media or even manually dialing a phone can be a dangerous form of distraction when driving. Rhode Island, like many other states, has implemented rules against texting while driving.

Despite state statutes making it illegal to hold a phone while driving, quite a few drivers think that they can text while driving if they use certain tricks or tactics. One of the more popular options involves waiting until stopped at a red light to read text messages and respond to them. While that may be safer than looking down at a phone while actively driving, it is not as safe as many people think.

The brain needs time to refocus after texting

The brain commits a large portion of its processing power to the analysis of visual information. Screens tend to be particularly demanding on people’s brains. Researchers have determined that someone’s focus on a phone doesn’t immediately redirect when they set the device down again.

Instead, it takes some time to refocus and prioritize other incoming visual information. If someone picks up their phone to text at a stoplight, they could easily cause a crash related to distraction when the light turns green. Researchers have concluded that the distraction related to mobile phone use persists for approximately 27 seconds after setting the phone back down.

In other words, someone might drive for almost half a minute without being fully focused on their surroundings after they respond to a text or scan an email at a stoplight. Even the use of talk-to-text software may not be as safe as people think it is, as people feel compelled to check their texts before sending them.

The uncomfortable truth is that no one can safely divide their attention between driving a motor vehicle and using a mobile device. People who sustain injuries and crashes caused by distracted drivers often need to take specific steps in their pursuit of accountability.

Pursuing a personal injury lawsuit or negotiating an insurance claim may be necessary when distracted drivers cause preventable collisions. Those who understand traffic laws and safety guidelines can identify when other drivers make unsafe choices in traffic. That information can potentially help them seek compensation after a wreck.