For many of us, distracted driving is no big deal. It’s something we deal with every day. Multitasking has become a way of life for most Americans and, unfortunately, that makes our roadways unsafe. In Atlanta, accidents are a common occurrence, and as we all become more glued to our smart phones, texting and driving is becoming a widely practiced, but deadly habit. Have you ever swerved into the next lane without realizing there was already someone there? Have you ever had to slam on your brakes because you didn’t realize the traffic around you was coming to a stop? We all see near misses everyday, and yet we think distracted driving is no big deal.
Most public service announcements utilize scare tactics when they bring up distracted driving. The problem with this way of thinking is that for many of us, texting and driving has become a habit. Luckily, habits can be changed. One of the easiest ways to break a bad habit is to replace it with another, better one. Here is a list of Habits that are better than texting while driving.
Take deep, soothing breaths: Use your commute time to relax. Focus on your breathing and on the task at hand. Enjoy just learning about where your mind goes if it only has to focus on the road and the cars around you.
Notice the sky: You shouldn’t stare at the sky, obviously, but take the opportunity while in your car to witness the world.
Do something silly to make yourself (and possibly other motorists) laugh: Play air drums on the steering wheel, pretend you are piloting a spaceship, or drive a race car (while sticking to the speed limit, of course). It could be a fun time, and if nothing else, your fellow motorists will get a kick out of it.
Notice things about your car: This one can come in handy. The better you know your car, the easier it is to take care of it. Is there a new noise? Maybe the sticker for your next oil change has been ignored for too long and you haven’t noticed it until just now. Paying attention to your vehicle just makes sense, and your mechanic will thank you.
Enjoy the drive: Sometimes all you need to be happy is to roll the windows down and drive, smell of leather seats, feel of the steering wheel and sound of the motor. If you are able to stop checking your phone, you can notice all of these things.
Keep an eye out for new and fun things to do in your area: New restaurants and great festivals are everywhere in the Atlanta area if you know where to look.
Listen to actual radio stations: You don’t have to feel really retro, but listening to something you don’t have control over will leave you able to focus more on the road and will leave you without the impulse to skip tracks. Who knows, you might even discover new music or learn something interesting.
Learn your surroundings: The better you know your area, the easier it is to navigate, especially when the GPS goes on the fritz. Just think of it as a post-apocalyptic life skill.
Drive more efficiently: Basically, go when there is a green light without making everyone behind you wait until you finish your text.
Drive the speed limit: Most people who text drive below the speed limit.
Airplane mode: Shutting off your phone can make you feel naked and alone out there. If you are still using the, “I use my cell phone as a watch” excuse, or if you use it to listen to music so shutting it off isn’t an option, airplane mode is great. It still leaves all of your on board, non-streaming apps functioning while blocking calls or texts that would only prove to be distracting.
Just shut it off: This isn’t going to be the most popular choice to pick because we seldom shut out the world and we wouldn’t want to miss all those game invites from Facebook, but the truth is, the easiest way to cut distractions from your phone is to simply shut it off. Give it a try, it might feel good.
Even if this list only helps a few people replace their driving habits with better ones, the road will be a safer place. If we all continue to keep our heads down and not on the road we will see more car accidents and more texting accidents. For too many, the consequences of a texting accident are steep. If you or a loved one have been involved in a distracted driving accident, call The Patterson Firm at 770-422-8840.