The fact that th
ere are so many campaigns and awareness programs around about the dangers of texting and driving, should tell you all you need to know.
It’s dangerous and could cost you your life or cause an accident that involves an innocent person getting injured or killed.
The magazine publisher, Teen Vogue recently published some startling facts about the dangers of texting and driving, including a harrowing story about a girl who was updating her Facebook status and ploughed straight into the vehicle in front of her, leaving her with massive injuries.
When you consider that over 3,000 people are killed and at least 350,000 injured on our roads each year, as a result of distracted driving, it is little wonder that people like Teen Vogue, who can get their message across to their teenage readers, want to get drivers to wake up and smell the coffee.
They recently teamed up with Dogeared to produce a special pledge ring that says by wearing it, you are promising to keep your hands on the wheel and away from your cell phone.
If you are a parent of teenage kids or a teenage driver reading this, here are some important tips on how and why it is so vital to keep that phone away when behind the wheel.
Stop the Texts and Stop the Wrecks
A good starting point to learn about the devastation that can be caused by distracted driving is the Stop the Texts.Stop the Wrecks campaign. Three simple facts on their website should hit home the message, especially to teenagers, who are the most at risk group of drivers, according to NHTSA statistics.
You can do quite a few different things in five seconds of your time, such as type most of this sentence. That is the average time you take your eyes off the road when you are texting or reading a message. Doing that when you are driving a car, is almost the same as driving the length of a football pitch with your eyes shut.
No one would do that, so why would they travel the same distance looking at their phone rather than looking at the road ahead?
Check out the video to see an example of what happens when you reach for your phone. Stop the Texts and Stop the Wrecks are just one of many organizations who want teen drivers to know, that checking your phone or texting while driving, immediately increases your chance of having a crash by three times the average.
How to stop texting while driving
Everyone knows that most teenagers wouldn’t go anywhere without their phone. It is a permanent feature of their life and hooking up with friends via social media apps, is what you do.
Parents need to get the message across to teenagers and young drivers themselves need to know that it can wait. That means putting a stop to texting and driving and doing whatever is needed to keep safe behind the wheel.
Out of reach
The most obvious advice is to put the phone out of reach when you get in the car. If you put the phone on silent and hide it away in the glove box, the temptation to see who is texting, calling or updating their Facebook, will be removed.
Borrow some thumbs
If it is really too difficult to disconnect from your phone while driving, suggest borrowing thumbs from a friend. This means giving the phone over to a passenger that can text a lot more safely or simply get them to text using their phone instead.
Designating a texter could still involve a distraction if the driver gets caught up in the verbal exchanges about what to text, but it is at least a safer option than should reduce the risk of becoming a distracted driver accident statistic.
Use an app to stop texting
Despite the fact that over 40 states have outlawed texting while driving, it is still estimated that at least 600,000 drivers at any one time, are flouting the law and using their devices whilst they are behind the wheel.
Worried parents and responsible teenage drivers can make use of a number of different apps that help you to stay legal and safer, by using an app on their phone that blocks texting while driving.
These are some of the apps that you can use, depending on what type of phone you have.
This is an Android app that gives you the ability to block incoming texts and calls while driving. Simply turn on the app as soon as you get behind the wheel and anyone sending you a text or calling the phone will get a message to tell them that you can’t take their call because you are driving.
This app works with all Android phones and works automatically once you install and activate the app, so the driver doesn’t have to remember to turn it on when they get in the car.
The app detects when you start driving and as soon as you reach a speed of at least 10mph, it automatically turns off all notifications and incoming calls, so there are no distractions.
This app is aimed at concerned parents who want to monitor their son or daughter’s behavior behind the wheel.
It is an app that is available on either Android or iOS and gives parents the option of setting maximum speed limits and whether they are traveling outside of an agreed safe area. It won’t be able to prevent them from texting while driving, but does help in raising awareness of better driving standards and how it can protect them from being involved in an accident on the road.
If you are looking for a solution to texting while driving, this is an app that allows drivers to respond to texts and messages without picking up their phone.
It reads your text messages out loud and deciphers text message shorthand and there are a number of customizable options available in the settings to hear your text messages and respond without picking up your phone or taking your eyes off the road.
More ways to avoid texting on the road
Texting Thumb Bands
Many celebrities and high-profile companies are getting behind the Texting Kills thumb band.
Wearing the colourful thumb band will serve as an instant reminder of the dangers of texting while driving and allows you to make a visible show of support towards a campaign that is aimed at raising awareness and educating all drivers, that about 10 teens die every day as a result of distracted driving.
Apple iPhone Lock-Out
If you are one of the many owners of an Apple iPhone, you may be interested to learn that the manufacturer is seeking to put an end to our apparent addiction towards texting while driving, by simply disabling your phone every time you get behind the wheel.
Apple have applied for a patent that is believed to be an attempt to change the culture and help put a stop to driver distraction accidents and deaths, with an automated system linked to on-board sensors in your car, that will prevent drivers from using most of the phone’s functions while they are driving.
Apple are effectively providing the same facilities as some of the apps already highlighted, but taking it just one step further and forcing intervention to prevent you from using an iPhone at the same time as driving.
Can you really text and drive successfully?
The answer is obviously no and the consequences of trying could be fatal. That is unless you actually want to try to multi-task but in a much safer environment.
What we are talking about here is a number of free online games that you can play that simulate the experience of texting and driving and set you a number of different challenges.
Games like the AT&T itcanwait texting and driving simulator are designed to highlight the dangers of texting and driving and the bgames texting and driving game is another example. It tests your skills and challenges you to avoid a series of obstacles and other cars while trying to text and drive at the same time.
Dropitanddrive offer several different simulators on their website, but the message is pretty clear regardless of which one you choose to play.
Playing with your life and endangering other road users by texting and driving is not a game that anyone should want to play.
So many organizations are urging teenager drivers in particular, that texting and driving simply has to stop if the death toll is going to be reduced.
Resources and links