It is not unusual to see friends and family take snapshots while driving. In fact, a quick look on multiple social media platforms shows a surprising number of people doing just that. Instagram has more than 3,880 posts under #drivngselfies and 32,500 under #drivingtowork. Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter have similar results. For some, it may seem alarming that people would take such a risk by engaging in this dangerous activity while behind the wheel. Not only does it put the driver’s life at risk, but the lives of everyone around them.
Taking selfies while driving involves all three types of distraction, visual, manual and cognitive. Drivers take their hands off the steering wheel and eyes off the road to manipulate their phone, take a pic and continue to post it on social media. Furthermore, their focus is taken off the road and placed on the task at hand. This can affect driver response time to bad weather conditions, objects in the road, traffic lights, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
According to the National Safety Council, the human brain cannot complete two complex tasks at the same time. When people try to engage in two tasks, such as taking a selfie and driving, their focus bounces back and forth between one activity to the other. This results in moments where the driver is not concentrating on the road at all.
In some tragic cases, motorists document their last moments in selfies or videos they have taken while driving. These devastating stories should serve as a warning to others who think about trying to take selfies behind the wheel.