We see the ad campaigns warning travelers of the dangers of distracted driving. We are served numerous news stories of those who have been injured or killed as a result of the practice. And most of us have had to swerve our vehicle into or out of a lane because of somebody else’s (or our own) distracted driving.
While smartphones are not the only source of distraction while we drive, almost all drivers possess them, which makes the likelihood of their use very high. Statistics reveal that about a third of drivers have admitted to texting while driving and about 20% of drivers regularly do so.
If you’ve developed the habit of freely texting while driving or engaging with your device in any other way, here are a few suggestions to help you break the cycle.
- Turn your ringer on silent or turn phone completely off. Ignorance is bliss. Simply wait until you arrive at your destination to catch up on your messages.
- Put your phone out of reach in the vehicle. Put that junk in the trunk or in the back seat.
- Download an app (Android or iPhone)that prevents you from texting and driving or activate settings on your phone that do the same. Use the technology to help you not use the technology.
Some of these suggestions might seem impractical for some, who wish to have their devices nearby in order to listen to music or podcasts. Rather than assuming that you are not willing to go without complete use of your device on the road because of the difficulty it will add to your life, please at least consider taking the issue seriously. Make playlists at home or listen to longer podcasts or audiobooks that you can start before you begin your trip.
Be creative and self-disciplined. There’s a lot at stake, both for yourself and others.
And regardless of how confident you are in your own ability to use your device while driving, be aware that many people on the road are doing the same. Even while not using your phone, exercise additional caution while driving in the realization that hundreds of people around you are more prone than normal to have slower reaction times or be almost completely unaware of their own surroundings due to divided attention.