Most people realize that texting and driving is dangerous, but this habit is hard to break. Many people may have thought that reading or sending a single text message will not harm them, only to be involved in a serious crash. Texting and driving must stop; in fact, recent studies show that texting-related and distracted driving crashes may have now become the biggest cause of teen death, surpassing even drunk driving.
How can you put a stop to texting and driving this holiday season? Here are some tips:
- Put away your phone. It may seem simple, but having your phone in plain sight on the seat or in the cupholder only encourages you to take a quick peek at texts when you are driving. Put the phone in your purse, in a closed compartment or in your pocket where it is difficult to reach. Remind yourself to look at it only when you are parked.
- Turn off your phone. Another simple way to solve this problem is to turn your phone off or put it on “airplane mode” while driving. This prevents buzzing or vibrating that may distract you and cause you to take a peek at incoming messages.
- Encourage friends not to text and drive. A simple message back of “Sorry I was driving” followed by an answer to a text may send a subtle message to your friends not to text you when they know you are driving and may also encourage them to do the same.
- Offer to handle “phone service” while friends are driving. If you are riding with someone, offer to hold their phone and field off texts or calls until you arrive at your destination. Never ride with anyone who insists on texting and driving.
- Use voice-activated phone and text service, but sparingly. The jury is still out on whether hands-free text message and phone service is safer than hand-held, but if you have this feature on your car, use it sparingly and always in place of trying to hand-text or call.
- Remember that dialing a number is the same as texting. Many people take the term “texting and driving” very literally, but any activity with your phone that causes you to take your eyes off the road for any amount of time, including looking up or dialing a number, can also be dangerous.
Texting and driving is very dangerous and can mean tragedy for you, your loved ones and innocent people around you. Avoid texting and driving to have a safe and happy holiday season!