I have a bad habit that I developed years ago. It’s illegal in some states, including Iowa, quite dangerous and incredibly irresponsible.
Recently finding out that if we, as Daily News staff members, get caught doing this activity, we will lose our jobs has really helped me stop doing it.
So what is this bad habit of mine? Texting and driving, which I know many other people do as well.
It’s not worth sending out that last “LOL” when you are behind the wheel of 2,000-lb. weapon.
I recently was almost T-boned on South Fifth Avenue. I was at the four-way stop just east of Cardinal Lanes and right when I was about to go, a minivan comes out of nowhere and forced me to slam on the brakes.
The driver was completely oblivious to what was going on. He wasn’t even looking at the road; instead his face was pointed downward and covered in the glow from his cell phone.
I stared at him in disbelief as he kept driving and thought, “How dumb can you be?”
I then realized that before I started pointing the finger of blame at him, I had four fingers pointing right back at me. How often have I been in that exact situation?
I don’t care how good of a driver you are — or think you are — texting and driving is dangerous. Jimmie Johnson has been dominating NASCAR for the last few years and even he would be reckless behind the wheel if he was armed with a cell phone.
Maybe, deep down, we all think if we don’t answer a text right away the world will end — it won’t. Waiting a few minutes until you arrive at your destination won’t kill you or the person waiting on your reply, but trying to text someone while you drive could.
So we know what the problem is, how do you go about stopping yourself from doing it?
One step I have taken is putting my cell phone on silent when I drive. This way I don’t hear my “Mighty Morpin Power Rangers” communicator sound or the Rick Ross “Ugh” text alerts.
Another step in addition to leaving the phone on silent is putting it in a pocket. The old mantra of “Out of sight; out of mind” still holds true. If you can’t hear or see your cell phone, than the temptation to read or send out a smiley face isn’t there.
Some newer cell phones have “driving mode.” My phone, the Samsung Galaxy 3, can read your incoming texts and its sender to you aloud. It also does this for calls. I rarely use this feature as I prefer the out of sight of mind option, but it is an alternative.
There are also several different applications that you use. On Android devices TextArrest blocks all incoming emails and texts. In addition to that, if the app senses the car is traveling at more than 5 mph, it will lock your home screen.
The basic app is free (and you know I love free and cheap stuff) and a more advanced version is $7.99 a month.
The majority of the text blocking apps are for Android devices, but one that is also available on iPhone is DriveSafe.ly. This performs much like driving mode and it also has a feature that allows your phone to deliver a pre-programmed response when you are driving.
I know the temptations that many of you face, as I am battling them myself. I am 26 and like many people in my generation, I live and breathe through my cell phone.
It’s my alarm in the morning, my recorder in interviews, a backup camera, my source to social media, my scheduler, and honestly it’s a part of me.
But texting and driving just isn’t worth the risk. You’ll have a tough withdrawal period at first but once you get past that, it will be just like taking a trip back in time to my favorite decade: the ’90s.
It’s like they say in AA, “One step at a time.”
Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641)-792-3121, ext. 426, or at firstname.lastname@example.org via email.