Selfies and social media may be a fun way to share memories, but according to some safety experts, they can also increase the risk of car crashes in Miami and other cities. You may already have seen drivers on the road filming videos for their social media accounts or taking selfies of their road trip. While no official studies have been conducted about the dangers of selfies, safety experts say that does not make the risks any smaller.
How could taking selfies and using social media accounts while driving pose risks? There are a number of ways:
1) Selfies and social media use may encourage more interaction between passengers and the driver. Posing together for a selfie or talking to each other in a video may seem like a fun way to celebrate a road trip, but it can also be a big distraction for the driver.
2) Social media use in the car requires drivers to take their eyes off the road. Whether it’s uploading a video to a social media account, checking a photo just taken, or lining up a mobile device to take a picture, these activities take a driver’s eyes off the road. In many cases, this can mean that the motorist can travel the equivalent of a few football fields without looking at the road in front of them.
3) Taking and posting selfies may take more time and concentration than sending a text. Playing with social media can take more time than even sending a text, which can mean more time spent not looking at the road. Since texting has already been linked to traffic and pedestrian collisions in Miami and other cities, it seems likely that updating social media or taking photos is a similarly bad idea.
4) Selfies and social media use behind the wheel may encourage risk-taking behaviors. According to psychologists and other experts, people sometimes use social media in order to impress others. Some speculate that this may mean that people may do riskier things than usual – such as driving recklessly – in order to take a more exciting photo or video.
5) The use of social media coincides with more hazardous driving times. According to the digital marketing company Razorfish, the peak times for uploading images to Instagram are weekdays at 8pm and Sunday at 5pm. Unfortunately, weekend and evening driving also comes with its own hazards – such as an increased instance of drinking and driving and increased traffic. Trying to upload photos or other media at any time is risky but trying to do so when there are other hazards just increases the risk of a serious truck or car accident in Miami or your city.
6) Social media use in the car requires drivers to take their hands off the wheel in many cases. Adjusting a phone, uploading a video, and taking care of other social media tasks can mean that drivers need both hands to scroll through menus or type in passwords.
7) Social media use and selfies while driving do not come with much stigma. There have been media reports of people taking selfies or video while driving and ending up in accidents. In some of these cases, the injured passengers continue to send selfies of themselves in the hospital after the crash. It seems that people do not feel stigma in using social media, which can mean it is harder to discourage the habit.
Although there are no studies (yet) to prove that selfies and social media are unsafe behind the wheel, there is much anecdotal evidence to suggest that they may be contributing to the risk of being in a car crash. Certainly, no one wants to see a driver taking selfies or creating a video in the car next to them.