I moved house recently. It’s a nice place we have moved into, but pretty much the same as the last. The town is about the same size and has all the same shops and places to go.
The only reason we had to move in the first place, was to get me closer to work. I’d changed jobs just over two year’s ago and my commute was starting to really get to me. Every day, I would head out in the darkness which grips the world at five in the morning. Then every evening, I would return home well after eight, having not seen the sun except through the office windows.
I’d spend nearly four hours in a car, all in the vain hope of getting to work on time and then maybe seeing my own bed in the evening. It was a pain I was willing to take, for all the benefits of the job. Then I realised I had to move. I had to get closer to work. The move was a no-brainer and we completed everything unbelievably quickly.
Having settled into my new half an hour commute, I realised that I was missing the phone calls I could make in the evening to my friends and family. I was missing the podcasts I would listen to and I was missing the playlists I would create.
When I was telling my partner about what I was missing, he looked shocked at me. We rarely drive together and he has a nicer car, so nearly always drives when we do. So I don’t remember the last time I have driven him. Which only means that he doesn’t remember how much I can do when driving.
He was horrified that I was even touching my phone whilst driving. I’d put a podcast on and yes, I’d have to open the app and then select the podcast, but that’s just the same as putting on the radio and choosing a station. Or so I thought.
He grabbed his computer and within seconds we were on a reaction test. It times your normal reactions and then directly compares them to if you were slightly distracted by a phone on the dashboard.
It makes you read a text and then to my horror, it tells you how much slower you reacted to something on the road. It tells you in time, but also in distance.
I’d no idea how much of an impact the distracting phone was making on my driving. Yes, I might only have been distracted by half a second. What difference does half a second really make in the world? Well, in the world of driving at 30 mph, it would have put me seven meters further down the road.
It shocked me, I always thought I was a good driver and my phone use wasn’t a problem. Then I saw the impact in black and white, now it’s impossible to think that it doesn’t matter.