It’s unlikely that anyone was really surprised about the vocal political support for outlawing texting and driving. But not a lot of people understand the extent to which texting and driving has compromised safety on the road. According to studies collected by TextingAndDrivingSafely.com, text messaging makes a car accident 23 times more likely. As people get more dependent on their smartphones, it will only get harder to avoid this temptation. But here are some tips to make it a little easier.
Apps that could save your life
Seventy-seven percent of young adults are “very or somewhat confident” that they can safely text while driving, while 55 percent say texting and driving is easy. As much as they may nod their heads when you lecture your teens about texting and driving, there’s no way to be sure that the message is getting through.
- DriveSafe.ly is a great app that reads text messages and emails out loud as soon as they come in, and will even send an auto-response such as “Driving. Can’t talk.”
- Textecution is a high-tech app that cuts off texting ability when it senses the car is moving faster than 10 mph. Trying to turn off or remove the app will also send a notification to the account administrator (many times, a set of concerned parents—though it’s not a bad idea for older drivers to try these temptation-halting apps, too).
Keep your focus up front
Although some drivers think they’re being clever by texting one handed or holding the screen up toward the windshield, the biggest problem with texting and driving is that it redirects your attention. So even though you may technically be looking straight ahead, focusing on your cell phone still puts you at risk. In fact, studies have shown that five seconds is the minimal amount of time your attention is taken away from the road while driving. When in doubt—and because nobody’s perfect—make sure to choose a vehicle with high safety ratings, so mistakes don’t turn into disasters. Chevrolet was recently awarded five-star ratings to seven of their 2014 models by the National Highways Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This amounts to more five-star ratings than any other automotive brand, topping tough competitors like Ford and Toyota. If you live in Arizona, ask for Phoenix Chevrolet managers to find out more about the safety benefits of your vehicle.
The real-life dangers of texting and driving don’t seem real until they happen to you. But you don’t have to wait for a personal experience to understand the gravity of the situation. You’re probably not willing to sit down and read long academic articles or scientific studies about texting and driving, but what about one 140-character tweet? The following Twitter accounts are devoted to anti-texting and driving awareness: @SecretaryFoxx (replaced @RayLaHood as U.S. Secretary of Transportation), @DistractionGov, @NHTSAgov, @DropItAndDrive and @DriveSafely.
If you’re more of a blog-reader, check out these informative sites: FromReidsDad.org, RookieDriver.wordpress.com, ctdrive.blogspot.com and EndDD.org. Know the facts surrounding texting and driving to reinforce the importance of this issue and get a better understanding of the risk. We also recommend three distracted driving simulators as a great tool to raise awareness about the challenges and risks with driving distracted.