MANCHESTER, NH – For me, it’s an occupational hazard and a personal crutch. My iPhone 6 is an extension of my arm, a high-functioning tool I use to take photos and videos, record interviews, send myself reminders, create grocery lists, find my way using Google Maps, keep up with multiple email accounts with a glance and, of course, make and receive phone calls.
I was – and still am – a little worried about my ability to resist temptation. The telltale buzz of a new message piques my interest every time, and I always glance to make sure one of my kids isn’t texting with an SOS.
And then there’s the breaking news alerts.
My only trip in the car today was to Hannaford supermarket. I had my phone in my pocket and didn’t even think about taking it out when it vibrated. I was pulling into a parking space within five minutes, and once checked, the message was nothing urgent. I picked up a few groceries, using my cell phone grocery list, and then I checked myself out and loaded up my bags.
As I put the car in reverse and began to pull out of my parking spot, my phone rang, so I pulled back in, turned off the car and took the call – it was work-related, and I’m glad I was able to take the call, but it could have – and would have – waited until I made it home, if the timing had been different.
We’ve become slaves to the immediacy of everything. We hear a siren and we go to our phones and click on Facebook to see what ManchVegas Alerts has posted about it. We remember that we forgot to call our sister back, and we reach for the phone to kill time with a catch-up phone conversation on a long commute. We wonder if our kid needs a ride home from school and so we shoot a quick text while we’re on our way from point A to point B, hoping to save a little time and scoop him up, if he is ready.
Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.
There have been enough documented cases of accidents directly related to distracted driving that we should take this like medicine. It may not taste great, but it’s good for us, and hopefully will cure what ails us, which is our inability to unplug.
How did you do on Day 1 of distraction-free driving? Tell us in the comments field below.