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Smartphone addiction is real and frightening

Many times, when you hear about a distracted driving accident, the distracted driver laments that it was not worth doing whatever they were doing -- usually on the phone -- to cause the crash. You often hear of people texting a friend or checking social media. It felt important at the time, but, through the lense of a fatal accident, it was clearly not worth it at all. How many accidents happen because drivers try to text a joke to a friend or watch an Instagram story?

When you read these reports, it is easy to shake your head at the foolishness of causing an accident in this manner. It seems unfathomable. But you need to consider the deeper issues in play here. Why would someone do such a thing? Often, the reason is phone addiction.

Screen time

One sign of addiction, experts note, is the pure amount of time people spend looking at the screen. For the average person, it is two hours and 51 minutes per day. If you don't believe that, most phones have a screen time meassuring system so you can check your own use. What you find may surprise you.

Another way to look at it is to see how much time you will spend looking at your phone in your life. By some estimates, it's more than five years.

Think of how much you could accomplish with five years of your life. However, for most people, they'll spend that time looking at pictures and messages from friends. It's staggering.

A designed addiction

One thing you should know is that phone app designers deiberatly create them to force you to get addicted to them. The more time you spend on them, the better. They can sell ads or use other features to earn money. They want your attention. What better way to get it than to get you hooked on the app?

The risks in the car

As you can see, all of this adds up to some serious risks in the car. Say you're driving all day and so you have only spent an hour on your phone, before you got on the road. You may not think about it, but your mind is used to almost another two hours of screen time. You're addicted to those apps. When the phone rings or buzzes, are you going to be able to resist the call?

The statistics say no. And, every year, this type of addiction leads to many devastating accidents.

Your rights

Maybe you will work hard to control your own phone use. That's a good place to begin, but you can still get injured by another driver. You need to know your rights if you do.

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