Is using a cell phone while driving an addiction?
It’s been a few years since our governments have made using a cell phone without a hands-free device illegal while driving. Sitting at a red light in traffic and using your phone is also illegal. Even though it’s been illegal for some time and widely publicized, it still happens every day. The numbers of tickets given out to drivers from police have risen each year even though public awareness of the risks associated to cell phone use while driving is huge. However, I think I have an explanation for this.
Our society has gotten so busy over the past few decades that we want things done immediately. Think about it. Drive-thru’s are available not just at fast food restaurants, but at the bank, some beer stores and I’ve even seen them at a store if you want to buy cigarettes. Let’s face it, we’re in a hurry and we have a problem. We’re far more impatient than we used to be. Having a cell phone means we can immediately act upon our thoughts. The key word here is immediately. When it comes to our cell phones, we can’t seem to control the urge to touch it, look at it or play with it.
For many people, our lives greatly depend upon the social networks. It seems like we can’t go a minute without checking messages, tweeting or checking someone’s status. After all, how can we expect to go on with our day without knowing what are friends are doing at that exact moment? It almost seems like an addiction doesn’t it? I know that sounds harsh, but a standard dictionary definition of addiction is “The fact or condition of being addicted to or having constant need to a particular substance, thing, or activity.” Doesn’t that sound familiar? Isn’t that what millions of people have when it comes to their cell phones – an addiction? Some may call it a habit, but whether you call it an addiction or a habit, you need to have control over it.
This addiction to the cell phone, like any other addiction, controls your brain. Our brains have a sense of reward when we accomplish something. It’s a matter of prioritising the reward though. Is there more mental satisfaction to complete a text message conversation or is there more mental satisfaction to drive the vehicle safely? To many people, driving takes a “backseat”, so to speak, to finding out what’s happening in cyber land.
Like any other addiction, you need to admit you have a problem. Acknowledging that you have a problem is the first step to controlling it. Once you do acknowledge there is a problem, you can begin the healing process of finding a solution to this problem. You’ll more likely listen to your friends and family once you’ve made this realization. Since I consider myself a friend of yours, I’d like to offer a few suggestions.
Before you get to your vehicle turn your phone off. If you don’t hear it, you may not be tempted to use it. Put your phone out of your reach. I mean really out of your reach. If you put the phone in your coat pocket and place your coat just behind your seat, you may be tempted to reach for it while driving. Secure the phone in a backpack, briefcase or other location that would make it relatively impossible to get to it while driving. Give it to a passenger to use while you’re driving. Let them text, tweet or post messages for you.
Addressing the addiction or habit will take time, a commitment from you and support from family and friends. Trust me, it will be worth it. Take it from a friend.
Another related post is HERE