The advancements in technology have made it easier to stay in touch via texting and social media. While it’s beneficial at times, it can represent a dangerous risk should you try this when operating a motor vehicle. In 2014, there were 431,000 people injured in car accidents resulting from distracted driving, according to Distraction.gov.
Using your mobile phone while driving takes your focus away from the road, reduces your reaction time to detecting obstacles ahead and taking corrective action. To illustrate, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (“VTTI”) states five seconds is the average amount of time your eyes are off the road when texting. If you are driving at 55 mph, it is the equivalent of driving an entire football field blind.
This example is scary to think about. Imagine driving 100 yards blindfolded unaware of what is around you? However, when you pick up the phone when driving at those speeds, that’s exactly what you are doing.
Altering behaviors is the best action to take to prevent you from texting while driving. Here are some ways to do this:
Store Your Phone Face Down
It’s natural for you to pick up your phone when you see notifications, so the first step is to eliminate that temptation. While you should have your phone near you if an emergency arises, it’s a good idea to place it face down in the console before driving. By doing this, your eyes can focus more on the road instead of alternating between driving and your phone’s screen.
Turn Off Notifications
When driving, it’s important to shut off all audible notifications on your phone. Even answering a phone call when behind the wheel can create enough distraction to slow your reaction times. Therefore, by shutting off your phone’s notifications, it helps you resist the urge to pick it up should an alert sound.
Use Your Vehicle’s Tech Features
Many vehicle manufacturers equip their models with Bluetooth connectivity, where you can sync your smartphone wirelessly. In addition, most offer voice command features that activate when you press a button on your steering wheel. From there, you can manage everything from accessing music to listening to text messages while keeping your eyes on the road. It’s important to note you need to set this up before going on your drives, as this will eliminate the distractions you would encounter when attempting synchronization while driving.