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What is Worse … Driving Drunk or Texting While Driving?
Driving Tips

icon/user/avatar/20 Created with Sketch. By Travis Triggs

When it comes to road safety, two major hazards often come up in conversations: drunk driving and texting while driving. Both are dangerous, but which is worse? In this post, we'll delve into the risks associated with each and provide insights to help you stay safe on the road.

Drunk Driving: A Deadly Decision

Drunk driving has long been recognized as a significant threat to road safety. Alcohol impairs judgment, slows reaction time, and reduces coordination, all crucial for safe driving. Statistics reveal a grim reality: according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 28 people in the United States die every day in drunk-driving crashes. That's one person every 52 minutes.

Texting While Driving: The Silent Killer

On the other hand, texting while driving is a form of distracted driving that has gained attention in recent years. It takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off driving. The NHTSA reports that reading or sending a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

Comparative Risks: A Closer Look

Comparing the two, both behaviors significantly increase the risk of accidents. Drunk driving can lead to more severe crashes due to the impaired ability to make rational decisions at high speeds. Texting while driving, meanwhile, leads to a higher frequency of crashes, particularly among younger drivers.

Legal Consequences

Both actions have legal consequences. Drunk driving can result in hefty fines, license suspension, and even jail time. Texting while driving, though increasingly being legislated against, often carries lighter penalties but is still a serious offense in many states.

The Bottom Line

While it's challenging to declare one worse than the other, both drunk driving and texting while driving are incredibly dangerous and can have fatal consequences. The key takeaway is to avoid both at all costs.

Staying Safe: Tips for Drivers

Plan Ahead: If you plan to drink, designate a sober driver or use a ride-sharing service.
Silence Your Phone: Eliminate the temptation to text by keeping your phone silent and out of reach.
Educate Young Drivers: Teach new drivers the importance of staying focused on the road.
Lead by Example: Set a good example for others by not texting or drinking and driving.

In the end, the debate over which is worse - drunk driving or texting while driving - misses the point. Both are hazardous and can lead to tragic outcomes. As responsible drivers, our goal should be to avoid these behaviors entirely and promote a culture of safety on our roads.

Stay safe out there!

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