Ding! Buzz. Brrrring! If your cell phone is anything like mine, it’s always making noise. Every app on my smart phone has its own notification sound, and I know what each one means. One sound for a text message. A different sound for a new email. And, of course, the sound of a phone call. It’s hard to ignore all these notification sounds and not look at your phone. You’re probably thinking, “Who is it, and what do they want? Is it important?” Before you reach for your phone, there is one thing you need to stop doing: driving.
Talking on your cell phone while driving is dangerous, yet so many people still do it. Today’s society is so connected and used to instant gratification that 30 minutes passing without a response to a text message is cause for concern. If someone doesn’t pick up the phone when you call, many people will just hang up and call again. I know I’ve called someone a couple times in a row and thought, “Maybe they didn’t hear their phone ringing. Maybe it’s on silent.”
Maybe they are being a responsible driver. Maybe they are choosing to not look at their phone until they reach their destination. Maybe I should just be patient and leave a message and they’ll get back to me later.
FACT: Talking on a cell phone while driving makes you four times more likely to crash. (Source: nsc.org)
The next time you get in a car, make sure you commit to driving distraction free—and encourage friends and family to do the same. Check out the startling facts on this infographic and read on for tips on how you can drive distraction free.
Here’s how you can drive distraction free:
- When you get in the car, power off your cell phone. It will save your phone’s battery life, and possibly your life as well.
- Keep your phone out of reach. Put your phone in the trunk or back seat if you’re worried that you might be tempted to grab it.
- Hands-free earpiece. If you absolutely must be able to take calls while driving, use a Bluetooth earpiece. Most earpieces have a range of at least 10 feet. So, you can still keep your phone out of reach while taking emergency calls. In some states, using a hands-free device is the law.
- Use your vehicle’s built-in phone system, if it has one. While parked, pair your phone with your vehicle’s Bluetooth phone system so that you can take calls without having to take your hands off the steering wheel.
- Pull over! If you must take calls, the safest way to talk is while the vehicle is stopped. Pull over to a safe location and only resume driving after you put your phone away.
There are a few apps for mobile phones that will help prevent drivers from texting while driving. Here they are:
- DriveMode. AT&T customers using an Android or Blackberry device can download this app. It automatically sends preset replies to incoming texts to let people know that you’re driving.
- DriveSafe.ly. This app also runs on Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Apple devices. It reads your incoming texts and emails and automatically responds to them. (Note: This app does not respond to regular SMS or MMS text messages on Apple devices. It only responds to Google Voice SMS messages.)
- Text-STAR. Available for Google users, this app senses motion and disables texting when you are traveling more than 10 miles per hour and can respond with preset text messages.
There are currently no apps that respond to text messages using the Apple iPhone operating system.
We want to help you arrive at your destination safely. And to do that, you have to keep both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. Together we can help save lives. You can help by eliminating driving distractions and encouraging your friends and family to do the same.
What steps do you take to avoid distracted driving? How do you encourage others to do the same? Let us know!