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THE DANGERS OF TALKING ON THE PHONE WHILE DRIVING
Using a mobile phone while driving is considered a contributing factor to numerous fatal accidents. It is hard to stay focused on the road while talking on the phone, especially when there are various things such as rain, fog and pedestrians that can affect visibility or cause distractions. In this article, we'll take a look at the dangers you might face when using a phone while driving.
It's a well-known fact that people are very attached to their phones the world over. They often go about their daily business with their phones in hand, and we often see them in their cars at traffic lights, talking on their phones or looking at their mobile devices while driving. This type of distracted driving is very dangerous and can even be more dangerous than drunk driving.
Taking into consideration the condition of South Africa's roads, every driver should stay focused on the road. According to the South African Road Traffic Act, drivers are not allowed to use a cellphone or other electronic devices while driving. This includes other communication equipment such as microphones and cameras.
It doesn't end there. When a police officer stops a car for a minor traffic violation, the driver often claims that they were not talking on their phones or that the vehicle was not speeding when they pulled it over. However, this is not the case. It is important to address these misperceptions about the law and using phones in our vehicles. After all, what matters is the preservation of human life and ensuring that road rules are followed.
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DANGERS OF TALKING ON THE PHONE WHILE DRIVING
One of the main reasons why talking on a phone is so dangerous is due to how our brains are unable to give 100% of our attention to multiple tasks at the same time. This means that when we are talking on the phone, we are actually splitting our attention between multiple activities such as driving and talking. If we add other activities like eating a meal or texting, we are constantly dividing our attention, which makes it hard to focus on driving.
Furthermore, texting while driving is also one of the most dangerous kinds of distracted driving because it requires a lot of your attention. You're looking at your phone while driving and this requires you to take your hands off the steering wheel to type.
Texting or responding to a message takes around five seconds. If you were to drive at 88 kilometres per hour, you would have travelled the equivalent of a football field without paying attention to the road. Even if you're not constantly looking at your phone, it takes around three seconds for your mind to get back to focusing on the road after you've checked it.
THE FINES FOR USING A PHONE WHILE DRIVING IN SOUTH AFRICA
We've covered all the details about distracted driving. Now, let's talk about the punishment involved. What does the law say about the use of mobile devices while driving? If you're involved in a car crash, could your insurance claim be disputed?
- Motorists in South Africa reportedly receive a fine of R750 for violating the country's laws of using a phone while driving.
- In the Western Cape, a bylaw was introduced in 2012 that allows authorities to confiscate the cell phone of a driver for up to 24 hours. Apart from a fine, the driver might also be required to pay a release fee of
around R1 000.
This is what the law says regarding the above-mentioned points:
According to Regulation 308A, it's illegal for drivers to use their mobile devices while operating a vehicle. They can't do so while holding them in one or both hands.
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POSSIBLE WAYS TO PREVENT TEXTING AND DRIVING ACCIDENTS
- One of the easiest ways to prevent getting into a car accident caused by a distracted driver is to stay focused on the road. If you are behind the wheel, your job is to make sure that you are alert, defensive, and attentive. However, you can't prevent another driver from using their cell phone. By staying focused on the road, you can make an alert and defensive response to any situation that might involve a distracted driver.
- Turning off or muting your phone while driving can help decrease your chances of getting into an accident by 50%. It can also help to resist the urge to text and talk on our phones while driving a vehicle.
- When you're driving, be aware of what's happening around you. Read our article on how to navigate South Africa's roads safely.
- If you're in an emergency, don't pick up your phone. Using hands-free technology isn't any safer when done while driving. It takes your mind off the road and the things around you. If you're constantly reaching for your phone when it's not in use, keep it away from your face while you're driving. Better yet, pull over and use your phone while your vehicle is stationary.
- Also, while you're driving, be aware of what's happening outside your car. You might hear something that could pose a threat or indicate problems with your vehicle, so limit the volume of your music.
According to statistics, distracted driving is a deadly issue that not only places the lives of those involved at risk, but it also affects the lives of other road users. While it is common for people to get behind the wheel after drinking and driving, using a cell phone while travelling is just as dangerous. Therefore, DEKRA encourages everyone to abide by all road laws and avoid using their phones while driving.
Contact DEKRA to book your car in for a DEKRA Roadworthy Inspection today. Find your nearest branch now.