Confessions of a Texter

Aug 9, 2009 | | 5 comments

Confession

I have a confession to make.  I have been talking on the phone and texting while driving.  I know I’m probably the only one who does this <tongue planted firmly in cheek>. I keep hearing reports of studies demonstrating that talking on the phone while driving is akin to driving drunk.  I understand, but it just doesn’t feel dangerous.  In fact, my friends and I do it all the time and we’ve never had an accident… have we?

The truth is that I have caught myself driving dangerously due to inattention.  It stops now… before I hurt myself or someone else!  I can imagine how I would feel if I hurt or killed a child just because I couldn’t wait to talk on the phone?  Imagining that feeling is enough for me.  I don’t ever want to experience it in real life.

I pledge to never text or Twitter while driving and I will only talk on the phone while driving if I am out on the open highway and there is no traffic around.  It’s just too risky.

How I got here

On our recent trip to Berkeley, I picked up a book called, The Science of Fear (How the Culture of Fear Manipulates Your Brain). In it, I am reading about how irrational fears cause people to behave irrationally. We fret over potentially dangerous things that aren’t very likely to happen. The flip side is that we ignore real dangers because they feel safe.  For instance, we lay out in the sun to get that “healthy looking” tan, knowing that the solar radiation is harmful.  Even though we know the dangers of cancer, we soothe our fears with statements like, “My friends and I have done this lots of times and we’ve never had any problems.”

Driving while texting and talking is one of those things that we hear the dangers of, but it just doesn’t feel dangerous.  So we trust our feelings instead of the facts.  In fact, we don’t consciously choose anything, we just do what feels right… and it isn’t a very good choice.  How would you feel if you caused an accident because you were driving while talking or texting?  Will you join me in stopping before that happens?

Posted in: personal

5 Responses

  1. I distinctly heard the tune of “Just as I am” when I decided to lay down my texting while driving. Come on, hands-free-voice-recognition-texting that the average guy can afford!
    Thx Jim.

  2. I must also confess that I’ve done this. I am skeptical of the people studies who say that talking on the phone hands free is akin to driving drunk. I would agree with this for texting and *dialing* the phone, but not talking. I don’t see how it’s different than talking to a passenger, especially if you’re using a handsfree device.

    I think the commitment to not dial or text or email or twitter or do anything that requires you to *look* at the phone in order to operate it is a good commitment. One that I also will make right here. (I’ll make a blog post later going public w/this commitment.)

    But I’m simply unconvinced that talking while driving (either on the phone or to a passenger) has any impact on your driving ability. So I will continue to answer the phone and make calls via hands free.

  3. @John – I think dial2do is a terrific service. I know that you make great use of it. If I were on the road more, I might do more with it. As it is, almost all of my driving is in traffic and I am choosing not to talk or text.

    @Mark – I’m looking forward to your blog post. Good point about the comparison with drunk driving. While I don’t know how scientifically accurate it is be to say it’s the same as driving drunk, I do know that I have caught myself talking on the phone either unaware of something that was happening around me (creating a dangerous situation) or unaware that I was on the phone while concentrating on driving. A much better choice, although a bit disconcerting for the person on the line with me.

    My brain does not multi-task well… I don’t know if that is normal or unusual. I do know that the understanding of it has frightened me enough to make this choice.

    On the open road when there is little traffic and fewer driving decisions to be made at any given moment, I will continue to do hands free talking when I feel comfortable with it.

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