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The ‘music time-out’ TikTok trend is bringing attention to the dangers of distracted driving

TikTokers are putting themselves in “music time-out” after nearly getting into car accidents while looking for music on their phones or dashboards — and the trend is highlighting the dangers of distracted driving.

One such user, TikToker Sierra (@fnafloverasf), did not provide specific details about her own near-accident but posted a video of herself sitting in the driver’s seat of a car.

“Putting myself on music timeout because I almost crashed,” the video’s onscreen text reads. It also uses a turn-signal sound uploaded by TikTok user @asherglean.

In Sierra’s comment section, users admitted that they have faced their own dangerous situations as a result of distracted driving.

“One time I [almost] crashed into an ambulance I didn’t play music for a week,” confessed @danielap178.

“Me after almost hitting someone 🙁💀” wrote @madi_mcpherson_.

Dangers of distracted driving

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distracted driving is any activity that “takes the driver’s attention away from driving,” and it can raise the risk of an accident. The CDC explains that there are three main forms of distracted driving:

  • Visual: Taking your eyes off the road

  • Manual: Taking your hands off the wheel

  • Cognitive: Taking your mind off driving

Using a phone while driving, such as sending a quick text, looking down to read a text or even queuing up your favorite song, can involve all three forms of distracted driving, which is why it can be particularly dangerous.

The CDC also says that younger drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 are at higher risk for participating in distracted driving.

In the U.S. in 2019 alone, over 3,100 people were killed and about 424,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.

Lowering the risk

Some of the TikToks currently being shared are meant to elicit chuckles, but the comments reveal that distracted driving — and the near misses people have experienced — are anything but funny.

“One time i was blasting music and doing 90 down and interstate and swerved 3 lanes and almost crashed into like 5 cars,” admitted @3skii_ace on Sierra’s TikTok.

@katiesaysmeow us when we almost rear ended the guy on the freeway jamming out to 2000s hits,” wrote @taylordoeswhatever on the same thread.

“Me after realizing i was going 60 on a 25 because last kiss by taylor swift,” added @sophieeisen_.

Some states have taken initiatives to try to curb distracted driving and phone use. For instance, in June, Michigan banned using phones or other mobile devices entirely while driving, including at red lights and stop signs. Michigan joins a growing list of now 34 states that ban the use of handheld mobile devices while operating a car.

Commenters also shared their own triggers and tips for lowering their risks, such as creating an environment to help them focus on the road more effectively.

“I can’t drive with music on and if I do it has to be low I can’t hear my surroundings,” wrote @nancycalidonio in the comments on Sierra’s TikTok.

“Me but it’s not music it’s the windows being down I can’t focus when the windows are open,” added @pinkietoering2004.

With awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, @izmenta commented on the same thread that there’s a reason near misses often lead to a humbling quiet afterward:

“You gotta give it a moment of silence for the version of you in the universe that you didn’t avoid the crash.”

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