Before texting there were brick phones.

Brick phone = no texting! Photo via Trover, Joe Cordero

You’re behind the wheel and your cell phone beeps as a message comes in. texting drivingWho hasn’t reached for the little device to see what it’s about? It’s exciting to feel connected, in the flow with whoever’s on the other line, but wait.

Driving is a habitual task and most of us travel the same few dozen miles. Its easy to be a trance driver. It’s too easy to forget that we’re fragile and hurtling through space in  cocoons of metal, glass and gas. A fraction of a second and that fragility can be shattered.

A nationwide survey this year showed an estimated 45 percent of drivers 30 or younger are sending or texting behind the wheel. Teens call it “driving while intexticated.”  It’s the in thing for many high school students. It’s the in thing for many adults and I’m not above the fray.

Time for a little more awareness and another choice point. Right now change that habit while driving.  Know that if you, teen or no, go on automatic pilot when you hear the beep or ring, you’re going to do something different.

  • When you hear it while driving, pause and take a deep breath.
  • In the pause, choose not to answer or ask someone else in the car to read the message to you.
  • Know that you’ll have a stoplight, or be able to pull over soon enough to keep the connection going, to answer the call, to stay in touch.

Driving is a freeing experience and it’s such a delight to roll on through our days. With a little more awareness we can keep ourselves and our fellow travelers intact to roll on through tomorrow. I’m pledging to break the habit of texting while driving immediately.

Go easy, travel well and stay safe.

Elaine Masters, RYT