Don’t let your smartphone distract you – always keep your eyes on the road

The evolution of technology – particularly with cellphones – has made everyone’s life so much easier. People can take photographs or record videos on a single device, send instant messages, and browse the internet.

While it certainly is convenient for the most part, using it from behind the wheel is extremely dangerous, and statistics show that thousands of people are injured or killed. Taking your eyes off of the road, even for a second and if there is no traffic in the immediate vicinity, is a considerable risk. Unfortunately, many people would instead reply to that text message or take the phone call while driving instead of stopping the vehicle and doing so in a safer environment.

To limit a driver’s off-screen time, automakers have implemented several hands-free connectivity systems where a smartphone is synced to the infotainment, and everything is controlled with tapping.

As per the South African National Road Traffic Act, no driver is permitted to use a hand-held communication device while driving. This includes also includes a microphone or other communication devices. In addition, a driver may not use a phone when at a complete stop at traffic lights (that includes taking photos, browsing the internet, and social media platforms) even when the vehicle is not moving. If the engine is running, you are considered to be driving.

Also, traffic officials are NO LONGER exempted. They used to be in the past (if it was in the course of executing their official duties), but that exemption was removed from the regulations a few years ago. So don’t let any traffic officer or metro police official try to tell you otherwise.

Gumtree lists some of the risks associated with distracted driving:

Reaction time – The reaction times of texting driver deteriorates by as much as 35%, worse than those who drank alcohol at the legal limit, who was 12% slower, or those who had taken cannabis, who were 21% lower. There is also a tendency to wander across the lane.

No safe following distance – By not focussing on the road ahead, motorists won’t be able to maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of them. That distance becomes even smaller in wet conditions where traffic is often compacted, and cars can change lanes anytime.

High risk of serious injury – Don’t be the reason why your family, partner, and friends will receive a phone call from emergency services. Some vehicles aren’t as safe as others, i.e., fitted with airbags or have a reinforced chassis, and not reacting properly when faced with such a situation can have dire consequences.

Now that you’ve got the knowledge, it’s time to shop! Head to gumtree.co.za or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android) and don’t forget to use your location settings to find local automotive vehicle information close to home.

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