Recently, there was this controversy about the use of Google Maps (or any other Car Navigational System ) on smartphones – while driving.
This was allegedly said during the 2019 ‘Ember Months’ flag off held in Lugbe, FCT.
It is known that using your smartphone to make / receive calls while driving is a major cause of distraction.The idea is that both of your hands (and eyes!) should be free to properly take control of the steering wheels of your vehicle. A way to mitigate this is to make use of a hands-free device.
Holding your smartphone and trying to navigate your way around while looking down at Google Maps is not particularly different from composing an SMS while driving.. or making a call. While voice recognition technology frees the driver to concentrate on the road instead of fiddling with buttons or tapping on touchscreens, this still divides the attention of the driver. Inattentive behaviour endangers all road users. Most vehicles on our roads do not have satellite navigational systems nayively.
Following the loud protests – especially by people involved in e-hailing services like Uber / Bolt, the FRSC has reportedly officially stated that their official must have been quoted out of context.
The FRSC has denied media report credited to one of it’s Sector Commanders alleging that motorists will be arrested for using google map applications while driving.
Denial or no denial, arrest or no arrest, people should not frivolously risk their lives and those of other road users. When the authorities insists that we use seatbelt when driving, it is for the good of the driver. Some restrictions may be inconvenient sometimes, but being inconvenienced is better than losing your life or sustaining terrible injuries.
Driving requires concentration (despite the major part of it being reflexive) and anything that takes our attention off the road cannot be good. if you have been driving for long, it becomes something that you do without really thinking about it. I’ve been driving for a long time. But I was once involved in a minor accident because of a phone call I was taking, and my mind wandered off. The car in front of me slowed down considerably – suddenly and because my mind was not focused on the task of driving, I rear-ended him.
Some years back, some teenagers lost their lives when the driver of the car they were riding in glanced at a navigation app on his smartphone and caused the car to abruptly get into the lane of an articulated vehicle . They were all crushed to death instantly!.
It is said that Dead People Do Not Dance Reggae. Whatever inconvenience all these restrictions may cause is worthwhile as it is meant to safeguard the lives of road users.
If you need to use your mobile phone (or have to do anything that may distract from your concentration) pull off the road and park. Alternatively have a phone mount on the dashboard of the vehicle, make use of a phone with very wide screen (or a tablet) so that you can view your Maps clearly without having to take your hands off the steering wheel.
Thankfully, modern advanced cars have Driver-assist Technology that makes it unlikely for distracted driving to cause an accident. The more plentiful the cars that implement such things, the safer the roads will be for us all
But – until technological features like this become commonplace and standard on almost all vehicles, we need to take responsibility when driving and pay close attention all the time..