Business owners who spend a lot of time on the road, like during a commute or on a business trip, understand how difficult it is to use smartphones while driving. Despite the fact that it’s illegal in many places, some people refuse to put down their phones and concentrate on the task at hand: driving. Doing so puts not only themselves, but everyone else on the road at risk of an accident, which can lead to expensive insurance payments and vehicle maintenance costs.
In general, it’s safe to say that smartphones have been counterproductive to roadway safety. With drivers being constantly bugged by new notifications, be it through email or text message, one has to ask an important question: “Is it worth risking my life to respond to an urgent email while on the road?” The answer is clear; no, you absolutely shouldn’t be doing so.
Not convinced? Consider these sobering statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation:
- At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010.
- Ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the crashes.
- In 2014, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
Alternative Solutions to Mobile Devices on the Road
To help you better take advantage of your smartphone, we’ve outlined a few potential solutions to this problem that continues to plague roadways. Keep in mind that we’re not advocating for smartphone use while on the road; we just want to help people stay productive while also keeping themselves as safe as possible.
- Bluetooth headsets: If you absolutely need to talk on the phone while driving, you can make this easier by using a wireless headset that allows you to talk without holding the phone to your ear. Plus, if you’re using a bluetooth headset, you can speak commands into the device to allow for hands-free navigation.
- Voice recognition technology: Some devices allow users to take advantage of hands-off technology like voice recognition. This allows them to focus on driving, while commanding the device to perform certain actions, like calling your office or sending a quick text message. You might still be somewhat distracted by your device, but at least your eyes will be on the road.
- Just don’t use your phone: Again, this returns to the above question; nothing work-related should be worth risking your life over. Keep your phone on silent while you’re in the car, with no vibrating or sound allowed. Doing so allows you to keep your attention pinned to the road, where it belongs.
- Use public transportation or carpool (if it’s an option): If there’s no way that you can wait to respond to emails, even while on the road, perhaps you’d be better off taking public transportation to work in the morning. Besides the fact that your attention can be absorbed by your device, you’ll likely save money on gas and vehicle maintenance costs.
For more great tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your technology, be sure to subscribe to K² Technologies’s blog.
Bonus Tip: Check out this texting-while-driving game from the New York Times, which displays just how difficult driving can be while using your phone.