Practicing Safe Texting
So you’re driving home from work and you hear that familiar buzz coming from your pocket, purse, cupholder, passenger seat, etc, etc. It’s your phone announcing that it has a brand new, juicy text for you to read. You look from your phone back to the road. To your phone. To the road. Do you pick it up? Do you leave it? Do you wait for a stop light? Do you have the self-control to resist reaching over and grabbing it? You might say, “It’s just a peek at the message… Oh, well, actually, I need to reply to that, but it’ll just take a second, and we’re going down a straight street. No big deal.”
Unfortunately it is a big deal. According to statistics released by the Washington Post in January of this year, 28% of car accidents occur when people are talking on their phones or texting. 200,000 crashes every year are blamed solely on text messaging. So for text-addicted people who can’t seem to resist sneaking a peek at that oh-so-urgent text, here are some tips to keep you and the rest of the drivers a little safer on the road.
Make Your Phone Inaccessible
Doing even the simplest things can help keep you safer while you drive. For people who really can’t exert any self-control for themselves, turning your phone on silent or even turning off your phone as soon as you get in the car can help you stop the urge of reaching for your phone. You won’t hear your phone ring or buzz or vibrate or sing a little song even if you do get a text or call. If you’re still tempted to check your phone for messages or missed calls even if you can’t hear it, you should just toss it in the backseat. That way, even if you are tempted to check for texts, you won’t be able to reach it. It may seem a little desperate to toss your phone in the back every time you get in the car, but it will deter you messing with your phone while you’re in the car. Any distraction from your driving is dangerous, so keep your phone out of reach.
Use Texting Socks
Yes, that’s right. Texting socks. The result of a DoSomething.org project, texting socks were designed to simply slip over drivers’ thumbs, making it pretty much impossible for drivers to navigate the small texting keys of their phones. If you’d like to get a pair for yourself, head over to the DoSomething.org page for texting socks. While these socks are free, you have to follow the rules set by the project. First of all, you have to be under 25. The DoSomething project, ThumbWars, is attempting to aim this safety message at young drivers which is why they created an age limit. Secondly, you have to come up with a creative way that you would use your texting socks to help spread the word of the dangers of texting and driving. If you send in your information and still find yourself without texting socks, it’s not hard to create your own if you really need a pair to keep discourage you from using your phone. Take an old pair of mittens or gloves that you don’t use anymore and cut off the thumbs. Keep the thumbs and two small rubberbands in your glovebox or middle console and slip them on and secure them around your thumbs with rubberbands when you get in the car. It may be a bit annoying, but anything that discourages you from picking up that phone from driving is worth it.
What do you do to keep yourself from picking up the phone while driving? Are you able to simply use self-control or does it take some real effort?