Today cell phones seem to be connected to fingertips as an organic extension that many people feel incomplete without. However, while driving this habit can turn deadly fast. Even checking a text one time can change a life in a moment. Here are eight helpful tips to help you put that cell away while behind the wheel.
1. Realize that being unavailable occasionally can be very attractive. You do not have to reply to every single text the minute it hits. Make your friends and romantic interest wonder what you are up too for a few moments. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, even if it is just a thirty minute “radio silence” while you drive.
2. Set up a predetermined playlist for driving to avoid fiddling the music app on your phone. Distracted driving laws cover phones, navigation systems, MP3 players, and radios as well. Planning a playlist that you start while still parked eliminates those trips where the radio or music apps let you down with zero songs you enjoy during your trip.
3. Store your phone in your purse, bag, briefcase or even the glove compartment to reduce temptation to just grab and check your messages. Out of site, out of mind so to speak. Of course do not give in to the temptation to search it down randomly because that will be counterproductive. If you find the temptation is still too powerful, put the phone in your trunk so you will have to actually stop and pull over in order to use it!
4. Practice negative reinforcement. Anyone who has accidently hit an animal while driving knows how fast it can happen. Even if you are paying close attention to the road, and following the speed laws, sometimes it is unavoidable. Anytime you are tempted to pick up your phone, practice some negative reinforcement by remembering how fast a tragedy can happen.
5. Practice positive reinforcement. Add up the cost of a driving while distracted ticket, and imagine what you would like to spend your money on instead. Reward yourself with said item once you have established the habit of keeping away from your phone while driving.
6. Quit cold turkey. Devises such as cell phone headsets have not been shown to be any safer than plain cell phone use. So do not give in to trying to use some device that allows you still use your cell phone in a so-called safer manner. Just quit using your cell while driving all together for true safety.
7. Use an app to take the control out of your hands. There are apps that disable your cell phone while it is in motion with the exception of emergency calls.
8. Realize that if you do not get the impulse to text and drive under control, the government may have to put to use technology that will make cell phone use inside of cars impossible. There are devices that can jam cell phone signals in certain areas. This is a controversial measure that may never come to fruition but the idea may scare some people into trying get their use under control.
It is worth the effort to stop cell phone use while driving, because statistics prove that distracted driving leads to tragedy. According to stats collected by distraction.gov 3,154 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2013. You may be special, but you are not the one person who can multitask so well that there is no risk when it comes to texting and driving. Any level of risk is not worth it when you take control of a multi-ton vehicle traveling down the road at speeds that make stopping on a dime an impossible notion. Even speeds up to just 55 mph can clear a football field in just under 5 seconds, according to studies that is the amount of time it takes to check a text. That is a long ways to be driving blind. Don’t do it.
If you have received a traffic violation, traffic schools or defensive driving courses are available to you. In some states you may be permitted to complete traffic school to dismiss the citation and avoid unnecessary points on your record. In some cases your car insurance provider may award with a discount for safe driving if you enroll voluntarily.
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