This morning I was driving to work and noticed a car in the opposite lane randomly drifting from left to right. As I pulled up closer I noticed that the driver was being distracted by something that was pulling her eyes from the road. I was so mad to know that she was putting herself and all of us around her in danger. I was wishing I could flash an “It Can Wait” sign at her as I passed. Did you know that more than 431,000 crashes a year are caused by distracted drivers.*
21 Day “It Can Wait” Challenge
On Jan 4, 2017 I started the 21 Day: It Can Wait Challenge. With this challenge I pledged to care for other drivers around me by putting down my phone while driving. Twenty one days later, I can honestly say I am no long one of those distracted drivers drifting in an out of my lane as I check my phone. When I started this challenge, I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be. There were a couple of times that I found myself getting angry that I couldn’t use my phone. What the heck is wrong with me! My biggest problem was at red lights or stop signs. I would always find myself wanting to grab my phone when I was stopped for these brief moments. I craved that instant gratification of reading a quick Instagram posts, or browsing my email. It’s like a drug to me. After reading some of the comments from my Instagram post about my pledge, I gained so much strength to refrain from my phone while driving. One mother shared how her son was killed by a distracted driver. Her story haunted my mind every time I craved my phone.
Tips I’ve Learned During the Challenge
It’s possible to break any bad habit, it just takes planning and support from family or friends. I couldn’t have completed this challenge without the support of my family. When a text would buzz in as we were driving, my youngest daughter would call out, “Dad, no texting” and give me the stink eye when I looked back at her in the rearview mirror. It was a great reminder of the promise I had made to my family. For those of you getting ready to start your 21 day challenge, I recommend finding someone who can help you remember why it’s so important to keep going with your pledge.
If you can’t think of someone to be your helpful reminder, I would definitely recommend downloading the free DriveMode app by AT&T. This app is great. It silences incoming alerts and activates when speed reaches 15 MPH and deactivates when speed drops below 15 MPH for 2-3 minutes. These are some other features of the app that can be a huge help during your challenge:
- Parental Alerts that send an SMS to the parent if the app is turned off or if auto-mode is disabled
- Auto-reply responses to SMS and MMS messages with a personalized safe driving message
- One-touch access to key contacts, music, and navigation apps
- Customizable home screen with a personal photo reminding you why distracted driving prevention is so critical
Here’s one last tip that really helped me. Put your phone in a spot where you are not able to see it or grab it while driving. For the first week of this challenge I would put my cell phone on the back seat behind me. When a text came buzzing in there was no way I could grab my phone – it really helped me get through that first week.
Make the Pledge
According to AT&T, 64% of drivers use their smartphones when driving alone.* That’s a huge number! AT&T also reported that almost half of people who pledged said they now don’t use their smartphones while driving.
How often are you distracted by your phone while driving? Next time you get in the car, please make a mental note of how often you reach for your phone. I think it will surprise you.
If you are being distracted (this is me giving you the stink eye), please take the pledge “It Can Wait”.
I’m proud to have partnered with AT&T on this sponsored post.
* Cellphone survey with 1,003 respondents conducted by Braun Research. Survey fielded August 18-23, 2015. Nationally representative sample (ages 16-65, drive and use smartphone apps).