Americans send over 150 billion texts each month, according to distraction.gov, a government website established to help eliminate distracted driving. Although the popularity of talk-free messaging isn’t that surprising, the inherent danger of this form of communication for drivers is taking its toll. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that as the popularity of text messaging increases, the number of drivers texting increases, which ultimately increases the rate of distraction-based car collisions. In fact, over the past three years, nearly 1.5 million people have been victims of car accidents where cell phone use and texting were determined to be the direct cause of the crash.
So, now that you know the risk, ask yourself what you do when you hear your phone go off while you’re behind the wheel. Do you ignore it or do you take your eyes off the road and your hand off the wheel in order to respond? Are you mindful of the safety of surrounding motorists? How about your own?
If you do have a compulsion to answer texts, calls, and messages no matter where you are (or how safe it is to do so), perhaps you should be aware of certain tools that can help you “cut the cord” and keep you, your family, and your neighbors safe from a distraction accident.
Safer Communication Driving Tools to Replace Dangerous Texting
When driving, the safest thing to do with your phone, tablet, or any other distracting electronic device is to keep it out of sight and out of reach. However, in today’s society many people believe that their phones are their lifelines; if their phone isn’t in their hand, then it better not be more than an arm’s reach away. Although this may be practical when at work, home, or a party, that kind of attention can’t be spent while driving a car.
Fortunately, for those drivers who feel it’s absolutely necessary to be in contact with the world 24/7, there are safer methods of communicating without the need to remove your hands from the wheel or your eyes from the road. These alternative methods include:
- Hands-free. Bluetooth can be set up in your car to allow you to make calls and talk without needing to use your hands.
- Voice-to-text apps. VTT apps allow you to speak a message and send it via text messaging without the need to type.
- Automatic messaging/responders. These particular apps respond with an automated message whenever you can't make it to the phone. You can turn the app on before you get behind the wheel, and if you receive any texts, it will respond to the sender with whatever you program it to say (for instance, “I can't respond right now; I'm driving. I'll get back to you as soon as I get out of the car.").
- Silent mode. If you can’t ignore the sound of a text coming in, put your phone on silent or completely turn it off so you’re not tempted.
- Cinema mode. Some cinema mode apps will not only automatically put your phone to silent, but will also dim your screen so you won’t know you’ve received a message until you’re ready to safely check your phone.
When Distraction Leads to Disaster
Although the above tools can help lessen your own distractions, you can never predict when distraction may cause another driver to hit you. Help us spread the word about texting alternatives to make sure your family and friends are protected. Share this page on Facebook or tell them to contact us directly to discuss any potential questions or concerns they may have about a recent accident.
A Virginia Car Accident Attorney Can Help
Do you personally need more information on distracted driving accidents and claims? Contact us today for a free consultation. We’ll be happy to answer all your concerns and give you the support you need. Let us be a helping hand—contact us today to see how we can help you get the justice, protection, and security you and your family deserve.