Last month I took AT&T’s 21-Day Challenge, a part of the long-running It Can Wait campaign that encourages drivers to keep their eyes on the road and off of their mobile devices. I’d become a cruise-control email-checker, a stoplight tweeter, and my kids just weren’t having it.
AT&T reached out with the hopes of achieving 16 in ’16, 16 million pledges by the end of this calendar year. While there is still–as we say here in the South–a ways to go, I am happy to report that more than a million drivers just like me rose to the challenge, and the ticker is presently creeping up on 11.5 million participants. But don’t think, just because this particular leg of the journey is over, that you can’t join in. With two and a half months left in 2016, there’s still plenty of time for you to make the conscious decision to “Care, Share, and Be Aware.” To this end, AT&T itself even offers a helpful tool, the
To this end, AT&T itself even offers a helpful tool, the DriveMode App. Available for free to Android and iOS users regardless of mobile carrier, DriveMode helps prevent distractions by silencing incoming alerts when your speed reaches 15 MPH, and only deactivating when the speed drops below 15 MPH for more than two minutes.
Plus, I’m more than happy to share a few tips and tricks from my hard fought journey.
- Plan accordingly: If you, like me, rely on your phone as your mobile entertainment system, it helps to pre-plan your commute soundtrack. Make sure your album, playlist, podcast, or streaming station is all set up before you start the ignition. Then you can connect your device (or it can connect manually if you’re using a wireless Bluetooth system) and press play before you even disengage your parking brake.
- Make texting inconvenient: While it’s not quite “out of sight out of mind,” I learned quickly that I was able to more easily resist the siren’s call of my smartphone when it was out of arm’s reach. I use a wireless charging cradle in my car, so it took some doing to reorient its position, but it went a long way—I made a pun!—to help keep me from sneaking a peek or firing off a “quick” message during lulls in my daily driving.
- Bring a friend: In my family, the front passenger’s seat is a place of honor. If you’re riding shotgun with me, your role can include anything from navigator to snack distributor to co-song selector—along with all the promise and glory that comes with such responsibilities. Recently, phone checker has become another potential obligation. But even that is handled on a case-by-case basis. I don’t expect my son or daughter (or other family member or friend) to constantly see to my telephone activities while I’m driving. However, if we’re running late and need to fire off a quick “be there in 5” text, my shotgunner may be asked to see to this otherwise distracting task.
It’s simple; distracted driving is dangerous driving, and no one can change your habits but you. There is, however, data that backs up the important motivating factors of projects like It Can Wait. AT&T calls it “the Power of the Pledge”:
- Almost half of people who pledged said they now don’t use their smartphones while driving.
- Those who share their promise or pledge with others are even more likely to stop, and more likely to speak up to others. Of those who shared their promise or pledge with others:
- 4-in-10 asked a friend or family member to not use their smartphone while driving.
- Nearly one-third asked a driver to not use their smartphone while driving when riding as a passenger.
- Nearly 4-in-10 asked a passenger to operate their smartphone while they are driving.
I know that the past 21 days have helped me begin to reshape my driving habits, but it’s just that: the beginning. From now on, it’s up to me to be more mindful—not to mention more careful—when on the road. So join me and my 11+ million (and growing) cohort of drivers by taking the It Can Wait 21-Day Pledge, because whatever you have going on in that tiny glass screen can surely wait.
This is a sponsored blog post and I was compensated by AT&T. All thoughts and opinions are my own.