We owe it to ourselves, our families, and our fellow Americans to carefully consider what we can do to “arrive alive” and ensure that others do as well. There are a few no-brainers: wear your seatbelt, don’t drink and drive, and stay within the speed limit. Compliance with these safety measures is easy. So, let’s take a minute to focus on another safety measure that isn’t nearly as common and apparently much less easy: putting away the phone while you drive.
Texting and driving (or even using your phone at all) is especially dangerous because it involves manual, visual, and cognitive distraction. According to the CDC, approximately 9 people are killed each day by a distracted driver. Moreover, an AT&T survey found that three-quarters of motorists admit to texting while driving despite awareness of the dangers of this behavior.
Do you text and drive? Some people don’t think that their own personal driving performance is affected by texting. Others have a serious case of the FOMOs and are Fearful of Missing Out on something important. And some are just plain addicted and get anxious when they can’t respond right away and draw a sense of satisfaction from being able to read or respond to a text or a “like.”
What can be done? The answer is to keep your phone out of sight and out of mind while you’re driving. For those who find this too difficult, ask yourself four specific questions:
- Is texting and driving dangerous?
- Am I or others around me susceptible to the dangers of texting and driving?
- Why do I text and drive? What are the barriers to me putting the phone away while I drive?
- What benefits are there to putting the phone away while I drive?
Most of us need a good reason to back our decisions. My daily decision to not text and drive doesn’t come lightly. I desire for our roadways to be safe enough to enjoy jogging, road biking, playing with kids, and dog walking. Also, when I drive, my 12-year-old daughter is often in the car with me; so, I’m mindful of being an example to her of safe driving in the hopes that she will eventually be a safe driver, too. Thus, my challenge to you this month is to find a heart-felt reason for putting your phone away the second you get behind the wheel.