It just takes a split second
Texting while driving is a bad idea. Talking on the phone (especially the dialing part) is a really bad idea too. They're quite possibly more dangerous than driving drunk.
To hammer home the point, The New York Times created an online game to simulate what happens when typical driving distractions are combined with trying to send text messages.
Drivers must navigate through a series of tollgates while reading and responding to texts about going out to the movies. The game measures reaction times, and serves as a mild but effective reminder of the dangers of taking your eyes off the road.
Try the game here. How did you score? If you're like us, your reaction time was much slower when texting compared to normal operation. Regardless of your results—multitasking gamers might manage to do pretty well—you should still not attempt to text when driving.
Currently, just 6 states—California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New
York, Oregon and Washington—along with the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin
Islands prohibit all drivers from talking on handheld cell phones while driving. But other states are pushing to enact their own hands-free laws, and not a moment too soon, as our own performance in the game morbidly demonstrates.
Across the Atlantic, the "don't text and drive" message is being spread in even more graphic ways. In Wales, a four-minute clip of a public service announcement shows a fatal crash sequence caused by a young girl who
was distracted as she text-messaged with friends while driving. The YouTube clip is getting international attention, and a 30-minute video is being planned for Welsh schools.
Be warned: the video is graphic and captivating