We’ve all heard that texting and driving is bad. That it’s dangerous. That you shouldn’t do it. But do we heed the warnings? Or do we keep on doing what we’re doing, thinking that an accident will never happen to us? Texting and driving is dangerous for any driver, and tow truck drivers are no exception to the rule. Texting takes your eyes off the road, and anything that takes your eyes and attention off the road has no place behind the wheel of a tow truck or wrecker. Let’s take a look at just how dangerous texting and driving is.
In 2015, over 3,400 people were killed in distracted driving accidents (according to the National Highway Transportation Administration)
421,000 were injured in distracted driving accidents in 2015.
According to the National Safety Council, 1.6 million collisions involve cell phones or texting each year.
Just take a second to digest those numbers for a minute. The consequences of texting behind the wheel don’t stop with you and your tow truck. The actions that you choose to take can have permanent impacts on numerous innocent people – the people who are killed, the people who are injured, and the loved ones that are left behind.
Texting means that your eyes aren’t on the road.
When you’re looking at your phone, you’re essentially driving with your eyes shut. Sending a text or replying to a text takes about five seconds. Ask yourself this – would you ever close your eyes for five seconds while you’re driving? No, because that’s scary, right?
Let’s do some math. If you send a text, that’s five seconds worth of time. If you’re traveling at, say, 45 miles per hour, that means that you’ll travel 330 feet in 5 seconds. That means you’re driving without looking at the road or the cars around you for the length of one football field, plus a third of a football field. Just think what could happen in that time. You could cross over the center line. You could run a red light. You could plow into the car in front of you. You could hit a pedestrian. There are so many tragedies that could happen because of inattention. So, ask yourself – is picking up your phone to read or send a text really worth the risk?
There are laws against texting and driving.
Texting and driving has become such a serious problem that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has passed laws that prohibit drivers from using cell phones while driving a commercial motor vehicle. So, texting while driving a tow truck isn’t just dangerous – it’s completely illegal. Even if you’re stopped at a light or stuck in traffic, it’s illegal.
Under the law, a tow truck driver must be pulled over off the road and stopped in a safe place to send a text. So, if there’s a call or message that you absolutely have to send, make sure to do the right thing and pull over safely. By doing so, you’re reducing the chance of hurting yourself and someone else, and you’re staying on the right side of the law. Plus, avoiding accidents can help you save money on your tow truck insurance rates.
Even updating call information on your device is distracted driving.
Another distracted driving danger to consider is updating call records or using any of the computer equipment that’s in your tow truck. It’s important not to try to enter any call information or update any records while you’re driving. Wait until you’re safely pulled over and have a minute to focus just on what you’re doing. This goes for updating GPS systems, too – if you’re driving on unfamiliar roads, plug the address into the GPS before you hit the road.
Texting and driving is dangerous to you and to the drivers around you. If you look away from your phone to read or send a text, your tow truck can travel more than the length of a football field without you ever checking the road. It can be very difficult to resist the temptation of looking at a phone, but you need to make the conscious decision not to text and drive. You don’t want to be responsible for causing a serious accident that leads to injuries or even deaths. Why take the chance?
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Fuerst, Peter. “Distracted Driving Can Be Fatal.” Tow Times, Oct. 2017, pp. 20, 22.