Road Hazard — Maybe Even Worse Than Texting While Driving: Surfing While Driving

There’s something even worse than texting while driving… it’s surfing while driving. Yes, more and more people are actually browsing the web while behind the wheel. A study was conducted in the U.S. a few weeks back polling 4,000 drivers aged 18 and older about their web surfing habits while driving (“webbing”). An alarming 48% of those between 18 to 29 years old admitted to this practice. In the older set (above 29 years old), 21% admitted to doing the same.

Photo credit: By Lord Jim / Stefan Kloo [Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)]

The growing trend seems to be caused by the proliferation (and combination) of smartphones + internet everywhere + social media. Though social-media remain as one of the biggest distractions, motorists may also “surf while driving” to view maps, find directions, research local business,  and even send urgent emails.

Though the study only covers the U.S., I feel this trend may already be quickly spreading in the Philippines as well. With the proliferation of wireless broadband services from local networks, coupled with millions of internet-capable mobile phones in the country, the Philippine motorists face even more distractions while on the road.

The main advice I can give to both motorists and pedestrians is to be even more careful while on the road. For motorists, drive even more defensively. It is not enough that you are obediently following the traffic lights and signs. The other motorist may not necessarily be paying attention to these things since he may be busy sending a tweet or reading a post. As for pedestrians, before crossing the road, don’t just look at the oncoming cars — look closely at each driver and try to see if they are distracted or actually paying attention to the road. Being on the pedestrian walk doesn’t ensure that you are already seen by oncoming traffic. Make sure you catch the driver’s attention before stepping in front of his car.

Credits: Jennifer Geiger, Cars.com “Study: More people surfing Web while driving” USA Today.com Nov. 21, 2012 Dec. 23, 2012 <http://www.usatoday.com/story/driveon/2012/11/20/surfing-web-driving-state-farm/1717259/>

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