As social media updates continue to draw in and keep people of all ages glued to their mobile devices, it is the growing trend of taking selfies while driving that poses a very real risk to motorists and other road users.

The popular #drivingtowork and #drivinghome hashtags that many use to post pictures of themselves on social media whilst driving may seem harmless enough, however just taking your eyes off the road for a few seconds can potentially end in tragedy. The reality is that the busier the road is, the more unpredictable the circumstances become, making snapping a photo or video in peak times particularly dangerous.

People engaging in this type of social media activity need to realize that they are not just endangering their own lives but those of other motorists and road users, including pedestrians.

And while the number of accidents resulting from selfie-related behaviour is often difficult to determine, largely due to people not owning up to driving negligently, deaths via selfie continue to increase every year. According to MIT Technology Review, the results of data scientists tracking the rise of selfie deaths across the globe indicate that 73 people died while taking selfies in the first eight months of 2016 alone.

Driving is one of those tasks that demands your full attention.

Countless deaths every year are attributed to distracted driving, evidence that taking your hands off the wheel and eyes off the road for just a few seconds is more dangerous than many people realize.

Drivers need to be aware that talking, texting, checking social media and selfie posting while driving are adding to the already high road accident statistics. This begs the question as to whether posting a picture is actually worth risking human lives.

So what can be done to discourage snapping selfies while behind the wheel?

Here are some ways to minimize selfie-related road accidents.

  • Educate drivers, particularly the younger generation who tend to use social media platforms most, as to the dangers of being distracted and particularly of taking selfies while driving.
  • Investigate possible distracted driver apps that will assist you in preventing the urge to check and use your phone while driving.
  • Be vigilant on the road. Take note of, and try and steer clear of, drivers that are on their phones.
  • Be vocal and warn contacts and friends of the dangers if you should notice a selfie post of them whilst driving.
  • Don’t post positive or encouraging feedback when you receive selfie pictures from friends. Many thrill seekers thrive on the attention they receive, and will go on to repeat their dangerous selfie stunts, often at a high safety cost to themselves and other road users.