Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Tip of the Week: 4 Life-Saving Alternatives to Driving While Distracted

For the busy business owner, demands on schedules make it mandatory to use their smartphone while on the go. While it’s important to be productive, safety is even more important. Therefore, you should never use your phone while driving in such a way that puts you and others at risk.
In many places, talking on your phone while driving is against the law, and the penalties are even more broad for using your smartphone while driving for tasks like texting and checking email. Distracted driving has become an epidemic on the roadways and the damage it causes is staggering. 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.
Obviously, the best solution to this problem is to put down the phone altogether, keep your eyes on the road, and your hands at ten and two. However, for many modern workers, this is one luxury they can’t afford. If you must use your smartphone while on the go, consider these four options.
  • Bluetooth headsets: A wireless headset frees up your hands, allowing you to talk on the phone while keeping both hands on the steering wheel. Another helpful feature of many Bluetooth devices is the ability to speak commands into the device, making it so you don’t have to handle your phone in order to make phone calls. Many newer vehicles have built-in handsfree capabilities with the stereo system, letting you make and take calls without taking your eyes off the road.
  • Voice recognition technology: Even better is voice recognition technology which allows for the use of apps and even replying to texts by simply using your voice. This technology makes it possible to drive without ever needing to handle one’s device.
  • Find alternative ways to be productive: You may be surprised to learn that there are other ways to be productive on the go besides communicating with your phone. Take for example, listening to an audiobook or playing back your sales presentation in order to fine tune it. You can also try just turning off your phone during your commute and benefitting from being unplugged from the world, even if it’s only for a short drive.
  • Have someone else do the driving: Just because you lack the funds to hire a chauffeur, doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to travel by having someone else do the driving, allowing you to focus on your work. Carpooling is an environmentally friendly option, and public transportation can be worth the aggravation if it lets you hunker down and get work done during your commute.

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