Since becoming available outside of China in 2018, TikTok has become one of the world’s most popular social media apps. Millions of users share short video clips every day, taking advantage of TikTok’s user-friendly features to show themselves dancing, singing, performing short comedy sketches, or simply sharing their thoughts. It’s especially popular with teenagers.
But as addictive as TikTok can be, it is not safe to use the app all the time – for instance, when you are driving.
TikToking and driving is distracted driving
Distracted driving is a national epidemic, causing thousands of serious car accidents in the U.S. each year. This started becoming a big problem around the time that cellphones became affordable. The invention of smartphones that connect to apps and the internet simply gave drivers more ways to distract themselves on their phones. Studies have shown that splitting your focus between the road and a device for even a few seconds significantly increases your risk of causing serious injuries in a crash.
TikTok gives drivers two ways to distract themselves: watching videos and making them. Filming yourself while driving typically takes your attention away from the road, even if you have your phone on a hands-free dashboard mount. In that moment, the driver must also be a TikTok star, shifting at least some of their focus from safe driving to performing for the camera. The result can be a preventable car accident.
Sleeping in the driver’s seat
Ironically, TikTok can also expose unsafe drivers. Earlier this year, an 18-year-old man released a video of himself sleeping while in the front seat of a Tesla that was on Autopilot mode. Tesla says that Autopilot users must keep their hands on the wheel and be “fully attentive” in case they need to take over. Though the man did not cause a crash, his video received a lot of criticism online.
Using TikTok while driving is just one way negligent drivers in Michigan choose to put others on the road in danger. Any reckless, preventable behavior can lead to serious injury in a collision.