Is smoking while driving really dangerous?

I thought I would bring this up to tie in with Cecil’s thread “Is cell phone use in cars really dangerous?”.

In many states it’s against the law to use your cell while driving but lighting, smoking and tending to a cigarette is not. I think that is completely rediculous and goes to show you that the cell phone giants haven’t done their enough to corrupt the government as big tobacco has and continues to do.

If I drop my cell phone while driving there is no danger of burning myself or my car’s upholstery. I would be much less distrated dropping my cell to say the least. Holding a smoldering ember in my hand while driving… hmmm. It’s a no-brainer to me. Plus, due to the lack of consideration and respect that 90% of all smokers have you can find a cigarette butt every step of the way if you were to walk along a street, road or highway. A few times a burning butt made it in to my car while driving and burned my back seat and rear deck. At stop lights I frequently have to breath second hand smoke. I guess I should keep my windows rolled up on a beautiful day.

If the use of a cell phone whild driving is dangerous enough to pass a law banning it, then cigarette smoking while driving damn well should be, too.

Tell us all what you think. Us non-smokers really want to hear what you smokers have to say, too (this will be good).

Dunno, but throwing cigarette butts out the window definitely is.

But a lot of people, if they drop their cell phone in mid-conversation, will try to get it back.

Is smoking while driving really dangerous?

WAG Well, YES.

More so than when not driving.

Granted, that the outcome of dropping a cigarette is worse than the outcome of dropping a cell phone. On the other hand, you’re more likely to drop a cell phone, just based on ergonomics and how you use one vs the other.

But more important is that using a cell phone in a car is a distraction, even when used hands-free, which is not true of a cigarette (other than for the brief moment of lighting up). So every time you use a cell phone you’re a worse driver, for the duration of the call.

Werd: For the moment, I’ll pretend you just didn’t assume I was disrespectful & inconsiderate just because I have a vice you don’t approve of and answer your question.

In no way is smoking a cigarette as dangerous as driving while yammering on your cell. Smokers are addicts & it takes no time or skill to light up while driving. In fact, I’d consider it equally as difficult as opening a 20 oz. soda in the car and taking a sip of that. Should we ban that too?

For the record, I put my butts in the ashtray. The fear of a $1000 fine is enough to scare me straight.

If you want to flame smokers, I’d suggest that you do it in the pit.

My experience is that cigarettes are much less distracting than cell phones or passengers who insist on having a conversation with the driver.

You don’t have to take your eyes off the road while lighting a cigarette, but most people do while dialing a phone.

Yes, butts littering the sides of roadways is a problem, but all in all, I’d say a cell phone is probably going to cause more pollution in the long run when it ends up in a landfill and leeches out mercury from its battery and other nasty chemicals. Butts will decay-- that plastic will take thousands of years.

Nonetheless the real issue here is whether or not smoking while driving is dangerous, not if it is more dangerous than talking on a cellphone.

Smoking while driving is definitely dangerous. I know of at least one wreck that someone was in that was caused by fumbling with the car-lighter while driving.

However, having conversations is also distracting and dangerous, whether it is on a cellphone or not. Personally I think we’re getting unreasonable with the banning of cellphones.

There are a thousand things that could be a distraction in a car, and for practical reasons it’s dumb to start banning them, we should focus more on expecting people to be observant drivers. Although that’s probably just as impossible as having anything meaningful come about because of cellphone bans.

Disagree. Cell phones seem to be the most pervasive distraction on the road. How many times have you passed some oblivious swerver only to notice them on the phone, ignoring the bird you’re flipping them?

I think perhaps **children **are the most pervasive distraction on the road, but that’s rather beside the point.

As a former smoker, yes, I’ll admit that for a few seconds while lighting, my attention is split. That’s why I always waited until a stop light, sign or loooooong straight stretch of empty highway to light up. If you want to confine your phone calls to the same situations, I see no problems. Once the cigarrette is lit, though, it is no longer distracting, and my eyes and attention remain on the road. I don’t think the same can be said of phones.

While I did flick ashes out the window, I always saved the butts in the ashtray. Flicking a burning stick out a moving vehicle is stupid and dangerous, I agree.

Ban children! It’s the only answer.

That may be the “real issue” but it’s not what the OP says. It specifically asks about the relative risks of cell phones vs cigarettes.

I ban my children from smoking cellphones while riding. Does that count? :smiley:

It counts…for something. I’m not sure exactly what, but I think it was good parenting. Can’t have them huffing burning batteries in the car, after all. That’s what the alley behind school is for.

And this is where the “But so-and-so is also distracting but it isn’t banned so Cell phone use while driving should be OK!” :rolleyes: argument loses it’s small amount of validity.

It is true that the act of lighting a cig, or eating a burger, or changing a CD is certainly distracting- and maybe even as distracting as yapping on a cell. However, that act of distracion takes only a moment, so hopefully, you can either focus your attention for a minute and be hyper-aware, or you’ll do it at a lull moment. But even if not- it’s only a few seconds of distraction.

But dudes will yap on their cell for the entire fucking trip- maybe even a couple hours at a time. That’s HOURS of being constantly distracted. That’s why rules only allowing “hand-free” cells are no good- that small short act of dialing can hopefully be made while you ratchet up your attention or while traffic is stopped. It’s NOT the 10seconds you take to dial that’s dangerous- it’s the hour long conversation that follows it.

I myself have very rarely used a cell while driving; half the time to dial 911 to report a hazard or accident, but I have done a couple of 30 second “Honey, I’ll be late” calls. Me culpa. But when doing so I realize that I am doing something slightly dangerous, so I make myself hyper-aware for that brief moment. It’s legal here in CA, but I still know it’s wrong, so I try and avoid it.

But no one can make themselves super-aware for an hour; or even more thna a few minutes. So- you start to drive like you’re drunk- and you have NO freaken idea you’re even doing so. You weave, you drive slow, and if an emergency occurs, you are dead meat.

It’d be illegal everywhere, except that cell-phone companies are making millions off car-yappers, and are “contibuting” to Politicians everywhere to prevent such laws. **It should be illegal everywhere. ** Now, even if illegal- I might still do it for that 30 second call. After all, I sometimes exceed the speed limit. :smiley:

I’m a smoker, so take what I say for what it’s worth.

Talking on a cell phone and smoking while driving are not equal distractions. A cell phone will distract you mentally while a cigarette generally won’t. Yes, lighting up is a bit of a distraction, but so is tuning the radio, drinking a soda, or adjusting the mirror. The same can be said for dropping or breaking anything extraneous to driving while driving. To follow that logic, we would need to ban anything that is not necessary to the act of driving.

There have to have been accidents that have been caused by someone distracted by smoking, however. That goes without saying. A couple of years ago, an Indiana State Trooper involved in a traffic stop was killed when another drive was distracted by cigarette embers blowing into his eyes. But, of course, as others have pointed out, ANYTHING can be a distraction when you’re driving and not paying close enough attention to the road.

I will say, jokingly, that cars DO come with ashtrays and DON’T come with car seats for kids, cell phone holders, or dinner trays.

Well that’s funny, because I’ve avoided a nearly infinite number of wrecks over the past 20 years while smoking like a fucking chimney. :wink:

Personally I can’t deny it must detract a little, but when it’s so habitual that one doesn’t even need to take one’s eyes off the road to light the thing, and can change gear (I drive a stick) and drive fluidly at the same time, I’d say it’s not much of a problem.

A cellphone without a car-kit requires placement next to the ear at all times. You can’t steer with that hand, and you definitely can’t change gear. If you lodge it between your shoulder and ear, you distort your sitting position drastically. You have to look at it to answer it, and you have to poke tiny little buttons, which you presumably have to locate by sight. Plus the concentration required to indulge in a conversation is proven to cause accidents.

I hardly concentrate at all on the cigarette when I’m smoking when I drive, and it doesn’t impair my handling of any equipment in the car, because I lodge it in the crux of the fingers of my right hand.

For the reason Martin Hyde mentioned, I never use the in-car lighter, because it stays hot if you drop it, whereas a disposable lighter will go out.

Also, my car lighter has a tendency to spring out of the dash and land on the back seat, but that’s another story.

I call bullshit. If even ONCE you had a butt land in your car I’d be amazed. And you FREQUENTLY have to breathe second hand smoke at red lights? How near do you pull up to the car next to you?

As far as the original debate, I have smoked cigarettes many times while driving and talked on the phone as well. The phone is MUCH more distracting. Try this: hold a small pencil between your index and middle finger while driving. Are you telling me this hinders your driving ability?

Duggy comes out of lurkerdom! I love it when that happens. And yeah, I’m pretty sure an informal poll would show that .00001% of the population have had a stray, burning butt fly into their car on the highway.

It’s only dangerous if the cigarette starts talking to you.