While engaging on a WhatsApp chat group, two of the participants apologized for their shocking spelling mistakes and both openly admitted that they were texting while driving.
That same day, I spotted a dozen motorists, within a distance of three kilometers, either driving-and-texting or talking on their cell phones while driving. I distinctly recall a mother who was texting while driving; with her two babies in the backseats, fortunately buckled-up in their baby chairs. She stopped just short of the rear-bumper of a delivery truck at a traffic light and a father while on his way to drop his kids at school, had his cell phone clenched between his ear and shoulder, kept veering into the right-hand lane every time he changed gears. This kind of road behaviour sends a clear message to our children, setting a precedent for the next generation of drivers, especially for adolescent teenagers, that it is okay to use your cell phone while driving although it is illegal and dangerous. So, what is driving people to such madness? Perhaps F.O.M.O, the Fear of Missing Out. Research shows the FOMO is the new General Anxiety and may be responsible for what prods motorists to operate their cell phone while behind the wheel of their car. The ease of access, the instant gratification and frequent use creates a dependent cycle. Moreover, if we are partaking in something that we know is lethal and illegal…then we must call it what it is…it is an addiction. Ironically, technology offers us a solution – with cell phone applications that prevent you from using your phone while driving. Now some may say, “I don’t need these apps, I can just put my phone on Flight Mode,” and yes this is an option. However, it will not reply to an important phone call or text message. Here are five applications that could save your life:
- Text Free Driving: It reads your text messages and replies with a personal response, “Hi I am driving I will call you back ASAP.”
- Drive Safe: Automatically detects when you are driving and puts your phone on silent. Sends an auto reply to an incoming call or text, however, if the same number calls more than three times, the App recognizes that there may be an emergency and allows the call to come through.
- Safely Go: While blocking incoming calls and texts – with an automated response. You can select up to three critical numbers to receive calls and text messages.
- ly: Features One Tap Operation and auto-on functionality that lets users seamlessly interact with their phone while driving. Drivesafe.ly announces a caller’s name, reads text messages and emails aloud, and can be set to auto-respond without the driver needing to touch the device.
- Canary: This application is especially helpful for parents. It notifies the parent’s any time their daughter or son texts, tweets, or answers a call while driving. Canarywill also provide notifications when the teenage driver exceeds a certain speed or goes outside a set perimeter on the map, so you will always know that your child is where they are supposed to be. Also consider CellControl.
There are even applications that reward you for driving safe and not using your cell phone while driving. Most of these apps can also be personalized to block any social media and selfie photos while driving. Becoming accustomed to these apps gets easier over time, and develops into a healthier pattern or habit – thereby breaking the addictive cycle.
By Dean Joseph