Put the phone down and look up

That’s your cellphone alerting you of a text. You better check it, unless of course you are driving.

These alerts are apparently so important that people reply while driving, causing a moment — or longer — of distraction that puts other people’s lives at risk.

I have never quite understood the appeal of texting and driving, but I have never been what you call a “risk taker” either.

It is not only texting and driving, but distracted driving as a whole, that should make everyone take a moment to pause. Literally. Like, on the side of the road or something.

Distracted driving has become somewhat of an epidemic, and it appears to increase every year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 3,477 people died because of distracted driving in 2015.

The safety administration said during daylight hours, 660,000 people were using their phones while driving in 2015.

Reading a text takes your eyes off the road for about five seconds and “at 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed,” a report from the safety administration stated.

Zendrive, a company that works to make roads safer by using data and analytics, conducted a study and found that of the 3.1 million drivers they analyzed, 88 percent of them used their phones while driving. Taking your eyes off the road for two seconds increases your risk of being in a collision 20 times, but the study found that people were using their phones for about 3.5 minutes per hour of driving.

Read the full story here.