RE: 6 Steps to Protecting Your Self & Family From Texting & Driving

ATTENTION. Businesses are paying BILLIONS for it. People are doing outlandish things for it (that they easily self justify). And yes, people are LITERALLY dying for it DAILY (texting and driving).

If you haven’t noticed, MOST people nowadays have the attention span of a gnat.

Don’t believe me? Count today how many people you are conversing with face to face that are FULLY engaged with you. They are NOT looking around the room, over your shoulder, or at their smart phone while conversing with you. They’re looking you in the eyes, and hanging on your every word.

If I were a betting man, I have a hypothesis that you would be hard pressed to have ONE person PER DAY who is PRESENT in such a manner.

People do NOT even stay present WHILE DRIVING a motor vehicle for goodness sakes. When on the highway next time look to the left and look to the right and notice that generally about ONE out of every TWO cars has an smart phone out, in their one hand…REGARDLESS of the news stories of the fatalities caused and lives ruined by texting and driving.

You know why?

“It’ll never happen to me, syndrome.” or the

“I’m good at texting & driving. I do it safely.”

FALLACY they believe WHILE they RISK their own lives including any passengers in vehicle with them (kids, friends, loved ones, etc.), and the other drivers who are unlucky enough to be near these IRRESPONSIBLE, attention addicted, responsibility shunning people.

FACT #1: As humans, the #1 MOST DANGEROUS act we participate in, is entering a car and the highways of America either as a driver or passenger, and the most dangerous thing a DRIVER could do while at the wheel is TEXT & DRIVE (to include checking social media), which is 2 TIMES more probable to crash than a DRUNK DRIVER. (see image below)

FACT #2: Many people with OCD who will wash their hands NUMEROUS times per hour out of fear of germs that will harm them, have ZERO problems or issues pulling their phone out to text, or check Facebook while driving. IE: putting lots of time & energy towards something that has MINIMAL chance of EVER causing ANY harm to them, yet IGNORING and minimizing the absolute MOST dangerous thing they could ever do. Ironically, many are drivers who text & drive have OCD related to the usage of their cell phone versus addictions to them. http://news.uark.edu/articles/16761/dangerous-mobile-phone-usage-tied-to-ocd-traits 

Bottom line: Humans amaze me. They intrigue me.

Why do we do what we do?

How do we justify all that we do?

That is the Billion Dollar question.

The question I would like to pose is more of a solution based one related to keeping myself, my family, and you reading this as safe as possible while on the roads. So…

  1. “What can be done to ensure I set an example for the rest of my family and choose to NOT use my cell phone while behind the wheel?”
    1. Answer: It must be a decision made in advance to getting into the vehicle each and every time (possibly a sticky note on the dash as a reminder) along the lines of: “I love my life and my family too much to risk it by choosing to text and drive. I choose to take this role as driver and role model seriously, and will not utilize my phone at all while the car is in motion.”
    2. If my kids or other family members see me using my phone while the vehicle in motion, it gives them the ok to use theirs while driving and in motion. Nothing would break my heart more than to get a call saying they are no longer here, especially being that is was in part due to my poor example.
    3. I choose to take full responsibility and not be tempted to pick up my phone for any reason.
    4. My family knows and agrees that if they are reaching out to me and I am not responding, to assume it is due to me being on the road, and that I will reply to them at my earliest convenience. NOTE: Consider having that be standard, “I’ll get back to you at my absolute earliest convenience.” for all family members. We do not want to be Pavlov humans, nor set that as an example of how we want out kids to be, either. Don’t play the “why didn’t you text me back immediately” game. That adds huge amounts of burden to any family member, and would cause them anxiety if they receive or see texts from you if that would be the response they got after getting to their destination, and could cause them to try to text and drive (aka RISK THEIR LIFE and others) as to NOT get BERATED or INTERROGATED later. Don’t be that person.
  2. Have a standard protocol, that all in the family have agreed upon that no one will be using their phones while the car is in motion (texting, checking emails, social media site, etc).
    1. At a stop light, or when pulled over there is a quick & safe way to notify anyone reaching out to you who may want some feedback out of concern. Copy and paste the following from your iPhone, then when stopped simply type “dn” (dn – without the quotations and it will autopopulate the rest). Follow the steps and copy and paste this in proper place: “Driving right now. Text you back when safe & able to. (This created on iPhone by: Settings => General => Keyboard => Add new shortcut. And this all auto-populates when I type dn) Please use this yourself, spread the word, and choose to not text and drive, as it would really sadden me to lose you over a text that could have waited. (Sent to you by typing 2 letters, while not in motion; most likely at a light.)” From your iPhone TEXT: ITCANWAIT to 33444 to receive this dn text copy sent to you.
  3. Agree in advance as a family, that IF a situation is a must for you to send a text or check anything on your phone, safely pull over and park in a safe place to do so. When done, get back on the road, choosing in advance to NOT text & drive.
  4. If there are passengers in your car, utilize them to plugin the map details, search for things online, send a quick text to someone for you, etc. DO NOT risk THEIR LIVES or YOURS.
  5. IT CAN WAIT! Is sending or replying to a text worth your life? How would your life be if you by checking or sending a text ran over and killed a child? Would a text be worth that? In the grand scheme of things, IT CAN WAIT. Your BOSS, LOVED ONE, FRIEND, or anyone who cares about you would understand that you made a choice prior to entering your vehicle that you would NOT text and drive and to wait until you were stopped. If they don’t understand, find new friends or bosses. It’s YOUR LIFE. Treat your SELF with the DIGNITY you DESERVE!
    1. Watch this powerful It Can Wait Video WITH your family & loved ones, and discuss it openly 
    2. Teach YOUR self and FAMILY to be FREE from anxiety or anticipation related to their phone(s). Help them learn that it is a powerful tool that can greatly assist them in many ways, AND it can STEAL their most precious assets of TIME and possibly their LIVES if left uncontrolled. Some Google searches will come up with some ideas. Here’s one from WebMD titled http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/addicted-your-smartphone-what-to-do
  6. Drive DEFENSIVELY. Expect that people ARE NOT paying attention, and WILL NOT make the proper moves and choices that they should. BE PREPARED, VIGILANT & OBSERVANT at ALL times when behind the wheel, and have those in the car with you on the lookout as well.

Whether we know each other personally or not, as I mention in my dn tip above, it would really sadden me to hear that you or someone you care about lost your life due to texting and driving, ESPECIALLY since you were here, and know the dangers is poses.

DO NOT JUST READ THIS. TAKE A STAND! TAKE ACTION! MAKE A COMMITMENT…like your life and the lives of your loves ones is on the line, because it truly is.

My hope is this was helpful to you, and that you make a commitment, chat with your loved ones (friends and family) about this, and make it safer for us all on the streets.

Feel free to share this post to as many people as possible. Together we can make the roads safer.

Make Today Great!
Tom Beal

PS – Please leave me your comments below. Would love to hear your feedback. Which part, if any, did you find helpful?

Statistics of Driving Hazards

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