Ok, here’s my thing. Every day, I see driver’s texting and selecting songs from their iPods in busy traffic. They come out of their lanes, they drop below the speed limit, they aren’t paying full attention to the road. It’s dangerous!
What I’ve noticed is that folks don’t want to get a ticket because they are driving and texting, so they hold their phone in their lap so the phone can’t be seen. Then they drop their eyes down to type which means they’ve lost the traffic picture out of their windshield.
So my little public service announcement for today is:
1. Do not text while driving.
2 If you do text, do it while stopped at a stoplight.
3. If you must text, try this: Hold your phone at the TOP of your steering wheel!
This allows your periphery vision to keep the traffic picture out of your windshield. It’s similar to looking down at your speedometer, or at the radio dial, or up at the rear view mirror. Texting takes your other hand up to the top of the wheel rather than down by your legs where you totally lose what’s going on in traffic. It’s still a distraction to text because you’re using your ‘think time’ to compose your message, but at least your vision remains where you can see trouble ahead. You can still see your speedometer. You can quickly get your typing hand back on the steering wheel if needed.
Be practical. If you must text, find a safer way to do it. Remember, there used to be a time that we didn’t even have cell phones. You had to wait until you got home to talk to someone. You had to use a pay phone. My distractions during those days were more like searching for a dropped french fry that fell between the seats, or trying to unfold a paper map that I was trying to hold while I drove. I had similar distractions and had to learn to drive well too.
Whatever it is that you are texting now, can probably wait a few more minutes until you are in a safer position to do so. Don’t text and drive. But if you do, try it at the top of the steering wheel. The rest of the folks on the freeway will thank you too.