Did you know that July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month? When you think of cell phone courtesy, you most likely think of putting your phone on silent at the movie theater or not texting at the dinner table. But another huge component of cell phone courtesy extends beyond just being a nuisance—refraining from using a cell phone while driving is a matter of saving lives.
Most of us can’t imagine getting through the day without our smartphones to entertain us, give us directions, and keep us in touch with family and friends. But as helpful as cell phones can be, one place they aren’t helpful is behind the wheel of your car. Though talking, texting, or otherwise looking at your phone while driving is both illegal and risky, there were still nearly 24,000 distracted driving crashes in Tennessee last year alone.
Making the commitment not to use your phone while you’re driving is easier said than done, but it’s a habit worth cultivating. Do your part during National Cell Phone Courtesy Month by following these four easy tips to avoid using a cell phone while driving.
#1: Go Hands-Free
Ideally, we’d all put our phones out of sight and out of mind as soon as we got behind the wheel. But in an ever-changing, fast-paced world, many of us have come to rely on cell phones to get us where we need to be.
If you absolutely must have access to your phone while driving, do yourself a favor and enable hands-free mode. Many newer vehicles offer Bluetooth technology or Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to make the transition easy. Make sure all your settings are toggled correctly before you hit the road, including directions if you need them.
Also keep in mind that just because you’ve gone hands-free doesn’t necessarily mean you’re free of distractions. Try to keep phone calls brief and uncomplicated. Conversations that take up too much of your cognitive power or stoke your emotions are another form of distracted driving. Know when to hang up or safely pull over to finish an intense conversation. Also, keep the volume at a reasonable level so that you can still hear the sounds of traffic around you.
#2: Delegate Tasks to Passengers
If you’re traveling with one or more passengers, not using a cell phone while driving is as easy as giving them your phone. Need directions? Passenger. Want to listen to your favorite artist or podcast? Passenger. Important text you need to respond to right away? Passenger. You get the picture. Just make sure that you’re not too distracted dictating a text message or email that you aren’t paying attention to your surroundings.
#3: Don’t Text and Drive — Even At Red Lights
We all know that texting and driving is dangerous because it takes your eyes and concentration off the road. What many people don’t realize, however, is that texting at a red light can be just as dangerous for you and other drivers.
Even sitting in traffic, you are still in physical control of a powerful and potentially deadly piece of machinery. Texting at a stoplight means you’re not watching to see if the light has turned green, checking your rear view mirror for traffic behind you (including other distracted drivers or emergency vehicles), or watching the road ahead for potential hazards.
Tennessee’s 2019 Hands Free Law made it illegal for any driver to manually send a text message or hold their phone while driving, and for good reason. If you’re in the driver’s seat and the car is on, don’t touch your phone. It really is that simple.
#4: Can’t Stay Off Your Phone? There’s An App For That
For some Nashville drivers, the temptation to peek at their phone is just too much. For motorists who need a little help staying focused behind the wheel, there’s an app for that, too. Apps like LifeSaver block incoming text messages, phone calls, or both while you’re driving. It even sends out an automated text message to anyone who tries to contact you while you’re driving so they know why you aren’t responding right away.
Other apps like Mojo reward users for every minute they go without touching their phone. Once you earn enough points, you’ll get a giftcard to popular retailers like Amazon or Starbucks. You can even compete with friends on the app to see who drives the most safely.
Injured by a Distracted Driver in Tennessee?
While these tips can help you curb your own cell phone usage, there’s not much you can do about other distracted drivers on the road. Just one moment of carelessness can result in catastrophic injuries for victims of distracted driving crashes.
If you or a loved one suffer injury in a traffic accident because of someone else using a cell phone while driving, you could be entitled to compensation. To find out if you may have a personal injury claim and to schedule your free consultation with a Nashville auto accident lawyer, contact Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys by calling 615-333-8888.