By now, most of us know that cell phone use while driving impairs our concentration. But it’s still a hard habit to break. Below are five ways to reduce our cell phone use while driving:
(1) Designate a passenger to use your phone
This is a great solution while on trips with our loved ones. Mary Larsen recently interviewed me on The Rhode Show about RI distracted driving and told us that she makes her husband navigate the cell phone while she drives! The passenger has always been known as the driver’s wingman. Before GPS on our phones, the wingman would unfold traffic maps (remember those?). Now, our passenger can use our phones or other electronic devices to coordinate directions, communicate with others, etc.
(2) Pull over to the side of the road.
Can’t miss that call or text? We can always find a safe place to pull over. It's easy and takes only a minute.
(3) Place the phone out of reach when you get in the car.
“Out of sight, out of mind.” As an RI personal injury lawyer, we have numerous accident cases involving a driver distracted by his or her phone causing the car accident. The common response from the at fault driver is words to the effect that, “I wasn’t texting, I was only in the process of making a call.” Even if true, that accident could have been avoided had the driver simply put the phone down and focused on driving. We are creatures of habit and so if we can get into the routine of placing the phone in the glove compartment or back seat, we will grow accustomed to focusing back on safe driving.
(4) Put the phone on silence so you’re not tempted to pick it up.
With the average teen sending 3,000 texts per month, the phone has become welded to many of our younger drivers’ hands. There is a certain Pavlov’s Dog reaction to instinctively picking the phone up if it buzzes, whirls or beeps. Silence fools our mind.
(5) Install an anti-texting app or hands free system
The government is taking notice - as our personal injury firm has posted before - the federal government now advocates for the complete elimination of cell phone use in the car - and in RI, a traffic court judge recently received national attention for revoking a teen's license for life after texting and driving. Yet still, we have become so accustomed to using technology in the car, that eliminating phones from cars seems unlikely. Car accident lawyers in RI are bombarded with companies touting their anti-texting apps for our phones. Connecticut requires hands-free cell phone use for drivers. This legislative session here in Rhode Island Senate Bill 2223 would follow Connecticut’s law. If we cannot eliminate cell phone use, then we can at least eliminate using our phones with our hands.