What is the Key to Safe Driving?

Lately, we’ve seen a barrage of marketing, press releases, public service announcements, and video blips about how dangerous distracted driving is. If you drive for more than 10 minutes, especially on the interstate, you’ll probably see at least a few distracted drivers. They are usually talking on their phone, texting, trying to eat breakfast, fixing their makeup, etc. We all know how dangerous driving under the influence is, but what most people do no realize is that driving while distracted gives people the same reaction time as a drunk driver, if not worse. Now think again about how many people you see on the road that are driving while distracted and imagine driving with that same number of drunk drivers. It’s a very unsettling thought, isn’t it?
So, now that we know just how dangerous it is, what’s the solution? Will power will only go so far and we all know that not everyone is capable of breaking the habit on their own. So what is the key to safe driving? Some things are easy to fix. Here are few tips on driving safe.

1. Eating behind the wheel. This is an easy one to fix. If you know you have to be somewhere, make a meal before hand that you can eat before you leave or that you can eat once you’ve reached your destination. Even if you have to eat in your car, if you allow yourself just a little extra time, you can eat in the parking lot of wherever it is you need to go. Proper planning and better time management can help you immensely in this area. For business people, I recommend using an online CRM program to keep your time organized. The Total Business Growth Engine is my personal favorite, but you can find several online if you search for them. Search for “totalbge” or “online CRM” to find some good resources.
2. Reading behind the wheel. This, again, is an easy fix. If you want to read a book or published report, you can usually find these publications in an audio format. Simply plug the CD, MP3 Player, etc. into your car and listen to the book and keep your eyes on the road. If you need to read something such as reports, articles, etc. that you have written, try reading your reports and recording it ahead of time. That way you can listen to it instead of trying to read and drive.
3. Fixing your makeup/personal grooming behind the wheel. This, again, comes down to time management. There is absolutely no excuse for doing this while you’re driving. If you find you do not have enough time to take care of your appearance before you leave for your destination, you need to adjust your schedule so that you have time to take care of that before you leave.
4. Using your cell phone/texting behind the wheel. This fix can be tough. The temptation to use your cell phone while you’re driving is very high, especially if you’re driving by yourself. Will power will help, but it can only go so far. Some people recommend turning your phone off completely and keeping it in the back of the car or even putting the phone in your trunk. While effective, I never really liked doing that as it made my cell phone inaccessible if I needed to dial 911 in an emergency. So, if you don’t essentially hide the phone from yourself, what else can you do? Many states have laws in place now, banning the use of hand held cell phones and texting while driving which can give your will power a boost, but that doesn’t work for everyone and the temptation is still there. If you think about it, we have laws in place to stop speeding, but how many of us still do it from time to time? So, is there a foolproof way to stop yourself from using your phone and driving but still be able to dial 911 in an emergency? I’ve found a couple of ways to do just that. Cell phone blocker and text blocker devices are coming into play more and more and they can greatly help people stay off their phones while driving.

There are a few different kinds of these devices, so now the question becomes, “which is the best one to use?” To answer that question we will need to look at the pros and cons of each. Cell phone blocker and text blocker devices can be broken down into two groups; GPS enabled and Bluetooth enabled.
GPS enabled blockers function by utilizing the GPS transponder in your phone. If it shows that you are moving faster than a certain speed (e.g. faster than a typical human can walk/run) it will shut down your cell phone’s ability to send and receive texts and calls. There are a variety of different software and hardware solutions that use this method, some will allow emergency calls, some do not. It’s not a bad solution, but there are some cons to this method. If you’ve ever used a GPS navigation program on your phone, you know that the GPS device sucks up a lot of battery power. Using the GPS to control this safety feature can drain your battery a lot faster than most people find acceptable. There is also the consideration that this method does not allow you to differentiate between driver and passenger. So if you are a passenger and want to use your phone, you won’t be able to. There is also the consideration of bad weather and other obstacles that tend to block satellite signals. There is a chance that these obstacles could cause the safety feature to stop working temporarily.
Bluetooth enabled blockers have some really great features. The only one I have been able to find is Key2SafeDriving which can be found at NoFonZone’s website. This device works through a combination of hardware and software. The hardware plugs into your vehicle’s OBD port which lets it tell when the car is running. The hardware then interacts with software on your phone via the Bluetooth and locks out your keyboard if the car is running and you are the driver. It does, however, allow you to call 911 and two other predetermined emergency numbers (such as “mom,” “dad,” “spouse,” etc.). This method deals with a lot of the cons you can experience with the GPS versions. The battery life issue is no longer as big of a problem as the Key2SafeDriving device works in a passive way so it does not constantly drain your battery. Battery life while using this method is significantly higher than the GPS method. You also do not have to worry about having your cell phone shut off as a passenger as this text blocker device allows you to differentiate who is driving and who is not. Finally, because this device uses Bluetooth technology instead of GPS signals, you no longer have to worry about the obstacles that can block satellite signals.
I hope this article has given you some ideas on how to make your driving experience safer and, perhaps, opened your eyes to some of the dangers out there. Please make sure your attention is constantly on the road when you drive and do not allow yourself to be distracted by a busy schedule. Also remember to stay off your phone while driving. No cell drive saves lives!

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