Ever have the urge to text “just a small message” while you’re driving?
Every single year, 421,000 people are injured due to a distracted driver. 330, 000 (78%) of these injuries are caused by drivers who were distracted by cellphones (texting, checking Facebook, etc.). 11 teenagers die every day because of this.
Why do we do this? Why is it that even though we are aware of the dangers, we STILL proceed to operate our phones while driving?
Here’s some reality:
We are all a part of a culture that wants things “now”. Not tomorrow, not a minute from now. We want to be entertained and occupied by technology as often and whenever we can.
It’s pretty sad if you think about it. Human engagement and interaction is treated as ‘old school’. But now, we’ve taken it too far; to the point where we put our lives and other people’s lives at risk.
It’s sad to think that it would take a horrible accident to shift most driver’s thinking. We’re so drawn into our own virtual world, that the REAL world has little or no significance…until it’s too late.
According to a National Survey done in 2012 on Distracted Driving Attitudes and Behaviours:
- Nearly 50% of drivers admited to answering their cellphones while driving.
- 58% admitted to continuing a conversation with someone while driving once they answered.
- 24% admitted that they would be willing to make a phone call while driving.
- 10% admitted that they “sometimes’ send texts or emails while driving.
- 14% said they read emails or texts while driving.
- The majority supported laws that banned this type of behavior.
What can we do to eliminate this problem?
The honest answer is we probably will never eliminate this problem. The same way our culture has battled drunk driving for decades. Yes, we can make laws. Yes our police can catch the ones who are caught swerving on the road, being distracted by their phone. But the answer is within each of us. We have to step up and start saying “This is stupid”, “This is not cool”, “Your text chat can wait till you’ve put your car in ‘park'”. If we don’t, individually, make the decision to a stand up and say something, too many innocent lives will be taken as a result.
If you’ve formed this habit of texting and driving, here are some tips to get you out of the habit:
- Turn your cellphone off and put it in your vehicle’s glove compartment. Keep it out of your hand’s reach.
- Limit your cellphone usage at home, work and in your social life. Most times, we don’t even need to be on our phones and we only are because we are used to being on it so often. Cut back on all technology usage! Go for a walk outside, take the kids to the park. Sometimes we need to be physically reminded of reality through our other senses.
- Treat every driving opportunity you have like a road test. Remember when you did your driving test with the driving instructor next you in the passenger seat? Drive as if the instructor is watching your every move: proper lane changes, hands placed properly on the wheel, etc. Do this again and again until these become your habits. Often, our driving habits are dulled and need sharpening from time to time. Getting back to basics will straight out those complacencies.
If you feel the points in this article are important, don’t be afraid to share this with your friends. People need to hear this. If you save even one life by taking a stand on an issue like this, it’ll be more than worth it.