Don't Text and Drive—Do This Instead

I have a confession: I am completely addicted to my cell phone. I love taking photos, creating social media content, chatting with friends and of course, reading articles. It’s the first thing I check when I wake up, and the last thing I check before I go to bed. This is the generation of technology and social media, so I’m sure there are a lot of people in my position. It becomes an addiction to check your texts, social feeds and notifications. Whenever you’re bored, you can have entertainment at your finger tips. But there’s a time when I always force myself to put it down: when I get behind the wheel.

Texting while driving has become a serious issue. Because we are so addicted to our devices, they are often used in inappropriate situations, such as operating a motor vehicle. This is extremely dangerous. Our reaction time is crucial when we are driving. We shouldn’t be looking away from the road for even a second. When we do, we are not only risking our own lives, but the lives of everyone on the road. However, I’m human. I understand the need for entertainment when driving, especially when all you have to look at for hours is a long stretch of highway. So I’ve found some ways to keep myself busy while keeping my phone tucked away!

1. Music

Okay, this is an obvious one. Most people have listened to music in the car, and jamming along to your favorite songs is a blast. But let’s be honest, the radio can get repetitive. With services like Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, and Amazon Music, there are so many options to choose from.  I like to set up playlists in advance, so I don’t have to pull over and search for songs. A great way to keep your playlists fresh is to ask your friends for suggestions. I’ve had a few friends make a car playlist for me of their favorite songs, and I’ve done the same for them! If I’m feeling lazy, I’ll play a Pandora station from my favorite artist. I also love the playlists that Spotify creates for you each week. These playlists are songs you may not have heard but should like based on your listening habits. I’ve discovered a lot of new favorites that way!

2. Audiobooks

I’m a huge bookworm. The majority of my Christmas list consisted of books I was dying to read. So when I discovered audiobooks, you can imagine my excitement. You can still get transported to another world and hear exciting stories while driving? Count me in! I personally like to use Audible, which gives you two book credits a month for $14.95. They have pretty much every book you can think of, and a lot of them are voiced by celebrities. You also get additional deals each week, in case you’re itching for more by the end of the month. I originally joined just to get the free book, but I ended up loving it and stayed a subscriber! If you don’t feel like making that commitment yet, you can check out your local library. Many public libraries offer a wide variety of free audiobooks.

3. Podcasts

This is definitely my favorite option of the three. I recently discovered the world of podcasts and all they have to offer. Essentially, you are listening to people chatting and debating about different topics. It’s like being a fly on the wall for interesting conversations. There’s a podcast for anything you can think of: fashion, theme parks, movie reviews, cooking, etc. If you can think of it, there’s probably a podcast about it. One of my favorite things about podcasts is that they have varying lengths. I have podcasts that range from 5 minutes to three hours. When I have a long drive, I’ll listen to some hour-long podcasts. When I’m on my way to work, I’ll listen to a twenty minute one. Podcasts are free to listen, and you can download them to your phone so you aren’t using any data. And if you are listening to a current podcast, you’ll constantly be able to find new content.

While the most important thing should be focusing on the road, these are great ways to entertain yourself while being responsible. We are all human. Long drives can get boring. But PLEASE don’t pick up your phone when you’re behind the wheel. If not for yourself, do it for all of the other drivers, passengers and families you could be hurting. Stay safe and happy listening!

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