8 Ways to Kick Your Texting and Driving Habit
Originally published by Erie Insurance in the ErieSense Blog on March 31, 2021.
Every driver ‒ and every passenger ‒ expects to reach their destination safely.
But picking up your phone to read or answer a text while you’re behind the wheel puts everyone’s safety in jeopardy.
At any point during the day, it’s estimated that around 660,000 drivers are on their phones. In the U.S., texting and driving causes a quarter of all car accidents. And teen drivers are four times more likely than adults to have accidents or near-accidents when they’re on their phones.
Want another eye-opener? You’re six times more likely to cause an accident when you’re texting behind the wheel than a drunk driver!
The silver lining? This is a habit that can easily be broken.
Here are eight tips that can help you ‒ or a driver you care about ‒ overcome the temptation once for all, while doing your part to keep the roadways a lot safer.
8 TIPS TO STOP TEXTING AND DRIVING
Remember: Silence is golden. Before you start the ignition, put your phone on silent mode and make sure it’s not on vibrate. Another option: turn your phone off altogether. Both options will eliminate the temptation to check your screen every time it rings, pings or buzzes.
Hang up your “do not disturb” sign. Well, figuratively anyway. On most smartphones, you have the option to turn on some form of a do not disturb mode while you’re driving. Do your research to find out how to enable this on your phone. There are even apps you can download to block texts while you’re behind the wheel, including ones specifically geared toward teen drivers.
Make it out of sight, out of mind. Rather than having your phone in your cup holder, your center console, or (cringe) your hand, put it in a spot where you can’t see or reach it.
Ask for help. If you have a passenger or two with you, ask them to keep an eye on your phone and handle any calls or messages you receive. If you’re a passenger rather than a driver, volunteer for the job ‒ and call out the driver if they’re being unsafe.
Put it in park. If it’s absolutely vital to respond to a message, find a place to safely pull over, then park and answer.
Model safe behavior. Talk to your kids about the dangers of texting and driving, explain the ways they can avoid it, then put your money where your mouth is.
Set and enforce rules. If you have a teen driver in the house, make your expectations clear about how they’re allowed to use their phone in the vehicle and be very specific about what will happen if they break those rules. If you catch your teen doing it, enforce those consequences ‒ every time.
Enroll in our new YourTurn® program.1 Need an extra incentive? Our driving safety app, YourTurn, is available to ERIE customers. The app measures criteria such as speeding, hard braking and phone usage – and you can earn rewards based on your driving score (up to $5 or $10 every two weeks)2. This helps to make drivers of all ages more aware of their driving behaviors and identifies areas for improvement.
IT’S YOUR TURN TO MAKE SAFE DRIVING A PRIORITY
ERIE’s YourTurn program is a new way we’re looking out for you and helping you stay safe on the road. Contact one of our talented ERIE agents today to learn more or to sign up for the YourTurn program.3 If you choose to join the program, you’ll receive a YourTurn welcome text and instructions for getting started.
YourTurn is currently not available in the District of Columbia, Kentucky, North Carolina and New York.
1YourTurn not available in all states. As of 03/2021, program available to policyholders in IL, IN, MD, OH, PA, TN, VA, WI, and WV.
2Ages 16-23 can earn rewards up to $10 every two weeks, ages 24+ can earn rewards up to $5 every two weeks. Rewards are based on the participating driver’s score during the scoring period while driving 50 tracked miles. Indiana participants can earn up to $5 every two weeks. Rewards are distributed through the YourTurn app via electronic gift cards.
3The YourTurn app requires participants to be a licensed driver on the ERIE auto policy and have a valid email address, smartphone number and data plan to download and activate the YourTurn app. Users must agree to the Terms and Conditions of the YourTurn® app.