A Deadly Wandering by Matt Richtel is a must read for young and old. It is a beautiful story of the intersection of life when a teenager kills two men while texting, law and brain science. Bottom line: when you are driving and texting you are 50% more at risk of an accident than when drunk. Yesterday I took care to check every car I passed. Almost everyone was looking at their device.
About 90% of us think it is dangerous and should be banned, yet about half of us freely admit to texting while driving. This is a story of mass addiction. We are all at risk. When things go wrong there is only regret – repairs, cost, injury and death.
In short, your device is cleverly designed with social and informative “hits” of dopamine. We are like the baboon pulling a lever in the vague hope of sugar or a electrical stimulus. We cannot stop. If we do, we feel at a loss, deprived, anxious and then depressed.
Driving alone is dull. The pull of your device is ever-present. We are urged to be connected, to “like”, to check, or to engage. In addition, our primitive brain desperately wants to feel needed, connected and important. The urge from your lower, older brain will mostly overwhelm our newer, fragile thinking brain.
We must remind ourselves and our children that when you text you lose all sense of where you are. Once you are finished texting, it can take 10 seconds to re-orientate to the road and traffic. This is called switching cost. It can be deadly.
Have a read. It could save your life, your teenager or an innocent family.