Texting at a stoplight isn’t as safe as you might think

On Behalf of | May 5, 2022 | Traffic Violations

New York has a law against texting while driving. If a police officer spots you with your phone in your hand, they will probably pull you over and write you a ticket. Some people try to get around the risk of a ticket by waiting until they pull up to a stop light to read and respond to a text message.

You might think that this is a safe practice because you can read and send a text before the light turns green. Unfortunately, research into how the brain works indicate that the practice is less safe than you might expect.

Distraction lasts even after you set down the phone

If you finish typing your message and set your phone back down right before the light turns green, you might internally congratulate yourself on the perfect timing. However, the lingering consequences of your screen use will affect your driving for nearly half a minute.

Researchers have found that distraction from texting and similar technology use continues for another 27 seconds after you finish. The cognitive hangover from screen use will increase your reaction time and reduce your focus on safely driving.

Even if you make a point of never having your phone in your hand while you are actively driving, the after-effects of distractions could still impact your driving safety. You could also get cited by a police officer, as the law does not explicitly permit you to use a phone at a stoplight. Learning more about texting while driving can help you understand the reasoning behind New York’s no-texting rules.