We are now a nation obsessed. We are hooked on the little tweets and snippets we send and receive from the digital devices we hold in our hands.
According to recent research by State Farm, at least 20% of drivers are accessing the Internet while driving. The risks of harming others or causing accidents and damage to property now exceeds the dangers that are attributed to people driving while under the influence of alcohol.
Stacey Hanke, a Chicago based management consultant and author of the book Yes You Can has serious concerns about the ever increasing reliance people have on communication digitally.
“There are simple limits to our multi-tasking abilities. We can’t drive a car and type on a keyboard, or even read the screen on a digital device keyboard safely at the same time. The human mind is simply not capable of operating this way.”
Even if you are not driving, with the digital devices, Stacy is seeing serious problems with the use of digital devices and with people failing to communicate optimally and meaningfully.”
“Micro-communication madness”, she says, “occurs when people are so hooked on the use of the digital device, that they fail to even realize that they’ve lost control of the ability to communicate effectively with other people. It really becomes an irrational dependence. The return on the time and effort they invest actually is detrimental to their life, and yet they continue to do use it.”
A study done by the Virginia Tech Driving Institute states if you’re texting while driving, you are 23 times more likely to get in a car accident than someone who is not.
“The answer to is to retrain yourself to control your mind and actions and make a conscious decision when and how you communicate. You’ve got to get smart about driving”.
If you are in the car THINK about where you are. THINK about what is most important. THINK about the consequences of you causing an accident.
Resolve to STAY in control. YOU be the master of your life. Don’t be a slave to your device.
Here are some of the valuable ideas she provides about communicating with electronic devices while driving:
- Call or Text before You Drive. Make your calls or text your messages before you start driving. Take the five or ten minutes you need to do your communications before you turn on your car. You’ll have a sense of completion if these messages are sent and you can be relieved from feeling the need to multitasking while driving.
- Place Your Phone Out of Reach. Deliberately place your phone and briefcase or handbag so far away, (for example, in the back seat or even locked in the trunk), so that the difficulty and physical barriers eliminate any temptation to grab it while you are driving.
- Turn Off Your Phone and Drive. If the sound of an incoming text or tweet has you frantically grabbing for your phone, do yourself a favor and eliminate the temptation by powering off.
- If it beeps, ignore it. Just because your phone beeped or rang doesn’t mean you have to know who is calling or that you have to answer it. Do not take your eyes off the road. Don’t even look at it. Ignore it. Don’t let yourself be distracted. Don’t let it interrupt you from driving.
- Pull off the road. Stop in a safe location, park the car, and turn it off. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Now power up your phone and make a call or text. NOW you can focus on sending a good message that is meaningful instead of a “hey!” that means nothing.
- Focus on Driving Safely. Live in the now. If you’re driving, then experience the drive. Pay attention to traffic and cars and pedestrians and what is going on around you. Concentrate and be mindful of what you’re doing, where you are and where you’re going. Driving alone requires many levels of concentration. There’s simply no more room for anything else.
- Use Hands-free Devices Carefully. There are hands-free technologies which do allow you to talk on the phone while you are driving. Even if you do so, be careful and make sure you give driving the attention it needs and requires. Do not become so engaged in your conversation that you reduce your attention to driving and create hazards on the road.
- Plan to Take a Break. Pace yourself. Know when you need to communicate and plan ahead. Set your clock or alarm and take a break when it is time. Then make your calls.
- Prioritize Your Calls and Texts. Identify who your most important must contact people are. It may be your boss, your employee or your wife or your mother. Focus on them first. Ignore or delay your response to other people with whom you can contact at your leisure. Use your call or text time wisely.
- Use Your Voice Mail and Email Wisely. All the technology offers ways to capture missed messages. Make strategic use of these capabilities with special messages that tell people you not available and will return their call or message as soon as you can.
“There is a time and a place for communicating with people, Stacey says. “Driving is not the right time or place. If you are going to drive, drive properly. If you are going to communicate, communicate well.”
I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!