You’ve seen the commercials, you’ve heard the horror stories, and yet … somehow, you’re not quite able to separate yourself from your phone while behind the wheel. Still, for your safety and the safety of those quite literally in your hands (whether in your car or neighboring vehicles), we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you kick your texting and driving habit.
First, we should broaden our definition of “texting,” for the sake of this post, to phone calls, emailing, chatting, or anything else you may be doing on your phone that is not related to the most important task as the driver of your vehicle—driving.
1. Put Your Phone Away
“Out of sight, out of mind,” right? Because it may take some practice and training to stop yourself from panicking when you’re not attached to your phone, something as drastic as locking it in your trunk or glove compartment so that you don’t have easy access may be a necessary step. If you absolutely can’t stand to go without regular notifications, plan to pull over every so often, then put your phone back where it was to avoid temptation.
2. Give Your Phone to Someone Else
Maybe you’re waiting on an important message, phone call, or email. Even if that is the case, your main focus while driving should stay on the road. If possible, hand your phone over to a passenger and let them handle the notifications. If the anticipation is still keeping you from focusing, consider letting someone else drive that day.
3. Use Alternate Devices
Part of the reason it is so hard nowadays for humans to disconnect from their phones is that they tend to use them for everything. Our phones aren’t just phones—they’re also our personal DJ, message service, weather forecaster, navigator, etc. Luckily, plenty of newer vehicles offer streaming services through the dashboard, or you can choose to go “old school” and dust off your old MP3 player. Many vehicles also have built-in GPS capabilities so you don’t need to use your phone, and, of course, there’s the old plug-in device option for that, too.
4. “Do Not Disturb” Mode
If your only choice is to listen to music or navigate with your phone, it is a good idea to at least stem the flow of constant notifications by flipping the “Do Not Disturb” toggle on your phone. (You may need to adjust specific settings for “Do Not Disturb” to enable playback for navigation and music.) As an added bonus, you won’t have the notifications going off during your favorite beat drop (although Siri or Google may still interrupt with turning instructions).
5. Utilize Hands-Free Options
Speaking of Siri and Google (and let’s not forget Alexa), these virtual assistants can plug right into your dashboard (depending on your vehicle) to help you send and receive phone calls, text messages, and more. Many vehicles also include Bluetooth to perform similar functions. The goal here, again, is to keep your hands on the wheel and eyes and attention on the road as much as possible.
In closing, and just in case you needed a reminder of the seriousness of the matter, a whopping 3,142 people died in 2019 because of distracted drivers, per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Don’t let you or someone you love (or someone else’s loved one) become a future statistic. Nothing on your phone is worth the potential lives that could be lost as a result of the distraction.
From all of us at Quick-Set Auto Glass, drive safely out there!