When driving a car, it is critical for drivers to remain focused and concentrate on the road ahead. Yet, a surprising number of people engage in distracting activities while behind the wheel. Using a hand-held cell phone while behind the wheel is thought to be one of the most dangerous activities; however, there is a distraction that may be even more hazardous. People who take selfies while driving not only put their lives at risk, but the lives of everyone else on the road.

A simple look on different social media platforms show thousands of posts of motorists posting pics of themselves while driving. Instagram alone shows more than 3,900 posts under #drivingselfies, 31,890 posts under #drivingselfie and 9,700 posts under #drivingtowork. Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat have more instances of this deadly practice.

Snapping selfies while behind the wheel involves all three types of distractions, including the following:

  • Manual
  • Visual
  • Cognitive

Drivers must take their hands off the steering wheel and eyes off the road to set up their cell phone and position themselves for the perfect pic. As they are taking the pic, posing and typing a caption, they also remove their focus off the road.

The brain cannot concentrate on two complex tasks at the same time. Instead, it switches back and forth between one activity and the other. As drivers take self-portraits and post them, they have a harder time responding to hazards, dealing with other drivers and yielding to traffic signs and stop lights. This is when deadly car accidents can occur. Sadly, some of the selfies catch the last moments of peoples’ lives.