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Safer Alternatives To Texting While Driving
In a society that communicates almost instantly, texting is a convenient and affordable way to stay in touch with colleagues, family and friends. Unfortunately, texting is also responsible for as many as half of cellphone-related car accidents in the United States. Despite many states making it illegal to text and drive, drivers still opt to engage in this unsafe behavior on a regular basis. Anyone who needs to stay in touch while behind the wheel might be interested in these safer alternatives to texting.
Voice to Text Applications For Smartphones
The name of this application makes its intent obvious. Using voice identification software, it can take your spoken words and transcribe them into a text message. Similarly, the application can read received texts aloud to determine if they need an immediate response. While there is no question that speaking is safer than fumbling on a phone to send a text message, there are mixed reviews about this application. It is most effective if it is set as the main screen while drivers are behind the wheel so that it doesn’t need to be adjusted on the go – resulting in a distracted driver.
Automatic Responder Applications
This is another app for smartphones that can reduce texting while behind the wheel. When the driver has the application in the “on” mode, it will send an automatic response to the sender of the text or even to the caller. Sample messages for these applications include the following:
Hello! The person you are contacting is currently driving. They will respond when it is safe to do so.
Alternatively, the driver can set a more personalized message such as:
I can’t respond right now. I will call you back when I get out of the car.
Disengage the Phone’s Texting Function
Even when drivers are fully aware that texting behind the wheel is unsafe, they might still be compelled to read messages on their phone when they hear that unmistakable beeping sound. For these drivers, the best course of action might be to install an application on their phone that actually blocks incoming texts for a designated period of time. When the driver arrives at their destination, they can read the texts that were blocked and respond.
Built-in Car Bluetooth or Bluetooth Headsets
Bluetooth technology has been around for years, but it has recently gained popularity as a safe alternative to texting while driving. Many luxury cars already have Bluetooth built into their operating systems, and it works by connecting to a phone wirelessly and reading out texts or answering verbal commands. Even for drivers who aren’t behind the wheel of a luxury car, Bluetooth is still a viable option. Bluetooth headsets do the same thing and cost a fraction of the price of a new car.
There is absolutely no question that texting while driving in unsafe. Drivers who can’t disconnect while behind the wheel might want to look into these alternatives. Of course, the safest option will always be to wait until reaching the destination before checking calls and incoming texts.
Featured images:License: Creative Commons image source
Jon Engle is a freelance blogger and avid car enthusiast living in San Diego, CA. He currently writes for the All Star Glass company providing tips on windshield repair and auto glass replacement. When not blogging, he can be found at local car shows, surfing and spending time with his family.