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I have a huge, embarrassing confession to make.
As smart as I am, and as much as I know how dangerous it is to use my phone while driving, I’ve done it. A lot. In fact, you could say that it was a habit.
I’ve been driving for over twenty years now, and I’m a pretty good driver. I obey the speed limit, always buckle up, and know how important it is to be aware of what other drivers are doing. Over the years, I’ve driven by myself over thousands of miles of highway in my travels.
Even with all of my driving experience, I can’t tell you the number of times I put my life (and my passengers’ lives) in harm’s way because I just had to answer a text message or an email.
Distracted driving virtual reality experience
I’m not alone. Research from AT&T shows that nearly 9 in 10 people admit that they use their smartphones while driving. In fact, according to the research, here are some of the smartphone activities people say they do while driving:
Playing music (64%)
Snapping/viewing photos (64%)
Accessing social media (50%)
Surfing the net (47%)
Watching/streaming videos (36%)
Shooting a video (31%)
Playing games (28%)
Video chatting (27%)
I’ve done just about everything on this list. To look at it all in one place, it seems so ridiculous. What in the world would make me think that I can safely navigate a crowded street in a huge vehicle while sending an email at the same time? So much can happen in the few seconds that I glance down to read a message.
A couple of weeks ago, I tried out a distracted driving virtual reality experience. It was an intentional experience from AT&T to show what it’s really like to drive when you have something on your phone pulling your focus away from the road. It was eye-opening. I wasn’t expecting to be moved or changed by the experience. I mean, I already know that distracted driving is bad. What else could a VR experience show me?
It showed me a lot.
I saw how easy it was to fall into a trance and forget that I was supposed to be focused. The experience demonstrated how quickly things can change on the road. I also heard from people whose lives were directly affected by distracted driving. I was in tears by the end, and horrified thinking about how easy it would have been for me to get into accidents and hurt myself and others because I wasn’t paying attention to the road.
Try out the experience: You can check out the It Can Wait VR experience on your smartphone. Tell me what you think!
Take the It Can Wait pledge
When I think about that, I can say, without a doubt, that no text, email or social post is worth it. The safety of my passengers (usually my own children!) and the people around me is the most important thing to me when I’m driving. I’ve taken the pledge to stop smartphone distracted driving.
AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign reminds us all of one important thing: Distracted driving is never OK. Research shows that when you take action or speak up about distracted driving, it’s less likely to occur. That means asking your friend not to text while they’re driving, or taking a pledge to commit to distraction free driving works.
Ever since I took the It Can Wait pledge, I’ve been hyper-aware of everything that I do when I’m in the driver’s seat. I’ve started to put my phone in the glove compartment, or use AT&T’s DriveMode before I start driving. The Drive Mode app is free and available for anyone on any telephone network.
I get it. I mean, I have trouble focusing, too. It’s a side effect of the fast-paced world that we live in. We have to turn things around, though. We can’t allow our need to multitask to distract us from focusing on the road. We have to stop driving distracted. Getting to where we’re going safely is much more important than any text message, video, or email we could ever receive.
Will you join me in taking the pledge to drive distraction free?
Learn more and become one of the 25 million pledges on the It Can Wait website.