Breaking Your Texting-While-Driving Habit
You’re driving down the highway on a beautiful sunny day, listening to your favorite song, when suddenly your phone alerts you to a new text message. Your curiosity gets the best of you, and you reach for your phone, taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds. In those few seconds, everything can change — all because of the dangerous temptation to text and drive.
Texting while driving is all too common in Illinois. According to a recent report, Illinois has the sixth-highest rate of distracted driving deaths per licensed driver, with nearly 200 deaths caused by cell phone use or other distractions that take Illinois drivers’ eyes off the road. It’s time to take action. Read on for tips and strategies to help you resist the urge to text and drive.
Illinois Distracted Driving Laws
Illinois law prohibits the use of cell phones while driving in most capacities, including texting and talking on the phone while holding the phone up to your ear. Individuals 19 years of age or older are permitted to use Bluetooth or hands-free devices to talk on the phone. It is illegal for everyone, regardless of age, to text, e-mail, wear headphones, watch videos, or scroll through social media while driving. Escalating fines range from $75 – $150 if you are caught by law enforcement. If you cause an accident while using your device, you could face high fines and even jail time.
There are some exceptions to Illinois’ strict distracted driving laws, however. If you are in an emergency situation, you may call law enforcement from the road. GPS use is also permitted to navigate to your destination. For the most part, however, the sooner you learn to keep your hands off your device while driving, the better.
Despite the dangers and legal consequences of distracted driving, many Illinois drivers continue to text and drive. It can be challenging to break the habit, so here are some practical tips to help you stay safe on the road.
8 Strategies To Help Break Your Texting Habit
- Turn your phone off or put it out of reach before you get in the car.
- Put your phone in silent mode so you won’t be tempted to look at it if it goes off.
- Tell your passengers that you are not going to text and drive so they can help hold you accountable.
- If you must make a call or send a text message, pull over safely first.
- If you are over 19 years old, use hands-free devices so you can keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
- Keep your mind focused on driving by listening to music or audiobooks instead of using your phone for entertainment.
- If you are playing music through your phone, create a playlist in advance so you are not tempted to pick up your phone to switch songs.
- Remember that there is no such thing as a “quick” glance at your phone — even taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds can be deadly.
The stakes are too high to postpone breaking your texting-while-driving habit. If you were involved in an accident due to cellphone use, contact an experienced Illinois distracted driving attorney today.