Chances are, you’ve heard countless warnings about the dangers of texting while driving. A mere moment of distraction is all it takes to cause a serious accident, potentially harming yourself and others. Yet, how often do you grab the phone anyway and prioritize texting over personal safety? Find out why it’s crucial to stop texting while driving, and learn how to kick the habit with a few simple steps.
It’s easy to convince yourself that texting while driving is harmless. But according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,450 people died in accidents caused by distracted driving in 2016 alone. Fourteen percent of those incidents involved a driver using a cell phone, resulting in 486 fatalities.
Ways to Avoid Distracted Driving
Believe it or not, texting while you’re behind the wheel is just as risky as drunk driving. Texting impairs your performance visually, physically and cognitively by forcing you to look away from the road, remove your hand from the steering wheel, and focus your mind on something other than driving. If you have a hard time ignoring a text, there are effective ways to change your behavior.
Silence Your Phone:
Be honest with yourself. Most texts aren’t urgent or worth losing your life. Unless you’re driving a long distance or have an on-call job, it’s generally safe to silence your phone and wait for a convenient time to answer your messages.
Keep Your Phone Out of Reach:
Texting while driving is against the law in 47 states and the District of Columbia, while 38 states and D.C. have banned all cell phone use among new drivers. So even if you’re only traveling a short distance, you could face serious legal consequences for causing an accident due to texting. Do yourself a favor and stick your phone in a purse, a glove compartment, or under one of the seats.
Pull Over or Wait:
Make it your mantra to pull over to answer text messages or simply wait until the end of your trip. When you hear your mind coming up with excuses to text, remember that your messages will still be waiting when you reach your destination.
Put Your Phone in Drive Mode:
If you don’t trust yourself to stop texting while driving, install an app that locks your phone and silences all text messages. If you get in the habit of driving without touching your phone, eventually it will get easier to say “no” to texting without the use of an app.
Every day in the United States, roughly 481,000 distracted drivers are using a cellphone behind the wheel. Instead of adding to the chaos, put an end to texting while driving to make the roads safer for you and your peers.