Texting – A Habit That Drivers Are Unaware Of?

Do you text deliberately while driving? Or are you one of those who send or read text messages as part of a habit – while your hands are busy on the wheel or not?

Texting while driving has been a serious public concern not only in America where it had already caused many road accidents including fatal ones. However, a recent University of Michigan study suggests that drivers might not be aware enough that they do text while they drive.

The study suggested that such practice has already become a habit among drivers. That people check messages in their cellphones without considering the danger entailed when they get their eyes off the road even for a couple of seconds. The said study also suggested that the texting while driving habit have somehow become an automatic behavior to some drivers – a behavior that is being triggered by situational cues and the lack thereof of control, intention, awareness and attention.

Joseph Bayer, a doctoral student of the University of Michigan’s Department of Communication Studies, who is also the study’s lead author explained that some drivers “automatically feel compelled” to check, read and respond to text messages not even realizing that they have done such act while driving.

Scott Campbell, an associate professor of Communication Studies further explained that understanding the texting behavior of drivers is not just to know how much they text but also to understand how they process such behavior. Campbell said that as part of habitual behavior, people react to cues they have been accustomed to without even thinking why they do react right away. On texting, the cue can be the cellphone’s vibration, a beep or its tone.

The author of the study is hopeful that his research’s implications may help provide solutions to the texting while driving issues. Bayer said that by targeting the human’s automatic mechanisms, self-control strategies can be design for drivers.