Distracted driving refers to any behavior that distracts the driver while the vehicle is in motion. A very well-known form of distracted driving is using a cell phone. This creates a grey area when using a cell phone at a red light. You are distracted from what is going on around you, yet the car is not in motion. While this may be true, in Canada it is nevertheless illegal to use your cell phone while on the road – that includes stopped at traffic lights.
More than half of drivers read text messages or text at a red light or stop sign in Canada. Looking at your phone, or texting while stopped at a stoplight decreases situational awareness that can lead to driving errors or hamper reaction times. You may miss the green light signaling for you to advance or fail to notice an accident that you may need to avoid. Scanning the intersection and being aware of your surroundings is important if an accident occurs in front of you.
Studies have shown that after interacting with their phones, it took people around 90 seconds to fully refocus on the task at hand. Driving uses all your senses simultaneously, and your focus should 100% remain on the road. Red light texting is a form of distracted driving and is illegal in Canada, so if you need to check your phone, wait until you can pull over and not take your attention from the road.
Texting at red lights and stop signs is more dangerous than you may think, and it is completely avoidable. Whatever you may be checking, changing, or returning, can wait. For your safety, and for those around you.
CLG Injury Law has over 35 years’ experience representing Atlantic Canadians who have suffered injuries following a motor vehicle accident. For more articles and safety tips, go to https://cantiniinjurylaw.ca/blog/ or subscribe to our newsletter.