Browsing pictures of your online friends might sound like the most harmless way to pass time, but did you know that going online or fiddling with your phone at the wrong time could cost you your life?

According to estimates of UAE Traffic authorities, 10 per cent of accident victims in this region are crashing their vehicles while browsing social media or taking videos through their mobile phones.

A survey conducted last year by RoadSafetyUAE (RSU) shows that 74 per cent of UAE drivers use mobile phones while driving.

Around 2130 road accidents took place in the first half of this year, injuring 3000 people and killing 315 people. By the Traffic department’s estimates, this means around 300 people might have been injured and more than 30 people might have been killed simply because they chose to engage in social media life or take a selfie while driving.

“Distracted driving is among the top causes of accidents, injuries and death on UAE’s roads and the use of mobile phones behind the wheel is one of the major sources of distraction. It is a very important issue which needs to get tackled by education and awareness creation,” Thomas Edelman, founder and managing director of RSU told Gulf News.

You might think you are fast enough to do multiple things while driving but research shows that using your phone is distracting enough to cause an accident. For example, it takes around 14 seconds to take a selfie, and a car travelling at 100 Kmph can cruise through 390 metres in 14 seconds. 390 meters of distracted driving is enough to cause an accident with a driver having the faintest clue.

According to Gulf News, experts have identified four major categories of driver distractions that can lead to serious accidents: visual, auditory, manual and cognitive.

Edelman says that use of mobile phones involves all the above four distractions, putting the driver and other road users in grave danger.

Different tasks have a different effect on cognitive load, and driving, according to Matt Gerlach, one of Ford’s most experienced testing drivers, uses around 85 per cent of a person’s mental load (As reported in Gulf News).