Using cell phones at the wheel is one of the major reasons for the scourge of distracted driving. It’s a well-known fact with which we are all familiar. So why are we tempted to pick up that phone anyway? And how can we break the habit of texting and driving?
Did you know that texting while you drive is like taking your eyes off the road for four to six seconds? At 90 km per hour it’s like travelling the length of a football field with your eyes closed!
You probably know that distracted driving can be fatal. Still, drivers continue with this bad habit. During a March 2016 special operation, Vancouver police gave out more than 1,600 tickets to offenders!
Tips to curb distraction
Clearly, we are addicted to our phones. How can we fight the temptation and make our roads safer? Here are a few tips to try right away:
– There are several apps available, including Bumpr (for now only available for Android phones), which allow you to block notifications and send automatic replies to people trying to reach you.
– Turn off notifications (vibrations, ringtones) to make it easier to ignore your phone.
– Put your phone in airplane mode while driving. It temporarily disables transmitting functions so that you can’t receive text messages.
– Use a GPS other than your phone’s GPS app so you won’t see incoming notifications.
– Practice not answering! Can you restrict yourself to checking your phone only once an hour? Try to do it on a regular basis. You can enlist the help of applications such as Forest which let you practise restraint and grow a forest while you’re at it! Every time you succeed in not touching your phone, you earn a virtual tree. It’s a Zen way to encourage yourself.
– Give your device to your co-pilot and ask him or her to handle your calls and text messages or simply keep the phone out of your reach!
Whatever your tactic might be: avoiding all distractions at the wheel is mandatory… and you’ll probably get to enjoy your drive fully! Drive safe!