the sparkly life: Here's Why You Need to Ditch Your Phone When You're Driving

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Here's Why You Need to Ditch Your Phone When You're Driving

distracted driving
reality rides simulator

texting and driving

distracted driving simulator

This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day.

Fourth of July isn't just a day of fireworks, bomb pops, and patriotic Instagrams. I was surprised to learn recently that it also happens to be the deadliest driving day of the year. And that's not just because there are more people on the road, many of whom have had too much to drink. Distracted driving is a huge part of the problem, too.

That's why Allstate is bringing an interactive pop-up event to 50 cities across the U.S. and Canada to demonstrate the dangers of distracted driving through their Reality Rides simulator.

I had a chance to try out the simulator earlier this week when the tour came to Lower Manhattan in New York City. Here's how it works: You get into a (real, stationary) car and buckle up. You're then handed a phone, and you start to "drive," following your progress on a curved LED screen behind the windshield. Suddenly, you start to get texts that you're supposed to respond to. But, just like in real life, that takes your eyes off the road, which is never a good thing. The first time I tried the simulator, I rear-ended a car stopped at a red light. The second time, I ran right into a newsstand—and a person.


Although I'm not someone who ever texts when driving, the simulator is a good reminder just how important it is not to be that person.

Because distracted driving is scary stuff. Now, I live in a walkable city with great public transportation and really crappy parking, so I honestly don't drive very much. But when I do (usually when we go to our lakehouse on the weekends), the fact that I'm always a little "rusty" behind the wheel makes me extra careful about minimizing distractions.

So, over the years, I've developed a few rules for staying focused while driving, and I wanted to share a few of my top tips with you.

1) Don't use your phone. I mean, duh, right? This one seems obvious, I know, but so many people think they can get away with that one quick text or call. And hey, I get it. I am attached to my phone 99 percent of my waking hours. But not while I'm driving. If I get a call or a text and I can't wait until I get to my destination to answer it, I'll pull over. It's not that hard.

2) Put your phone away. It's not enough to just avoid using it. I find it helpful to physically get it out of my sight. I shut mine away in the center console (or keep it tucked in my purse on the floor of the passenger side) when I'm driving. Otherwise it's too tempting to sneak a peek at the phone if it buzzes or rings.

3) Consider Bluetooth. This allows you to make hand-free calls, so you're not looking down at your phone to dial or search for a contact. We have one of these installed in our own car, and I personally still find it a bit distracting, so I tend to keep my driving time 100-percent phone-free. But my husband definitely uses the Bluetooth. Many new cars come installed with the technology, but if yours doesn't, you can buy a kit like this one and you'll be good to go.

4) Give your kids something to do. One of the most distracting things for me is hearing my kids fighting or complaining. That's why I'm all for iPads (or books or travel games) in the car. If the kids are entertained, they're not screaming, arguing, or whining that they're bored.

So that's how I plan to stay safe this holiday weekend and every time I drive. But I'd love to hear your tips, as well. Do you guys have any strategies for staying phone-free and focused while driving? Are you sticklers for avoiding texts and calls when you're driving, too, or do you sometimes sneak? Be honest!

And of course, if you'd like to find out when Allstate's Reality Rides tour is coming to your town or if you're ready to pledge to "X the TXT" (I've done it!), visit

Thank you to Allstate for partnering with me on this post.

 ** This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day.**


The Mid Life Guru said...

I bought a car with hands-free so that I wouldn't have to be tempted with using my phone when driving. The results can be just too scary.

Perla said...

Well, I'm not that much into driving, I usually prefer to walk or to use public transportation when I need to travel long distance.

Nina said...

I can so be that person who gets a text or a call when driving and feels like I have to respond right then. I just need to remind myself to just put it away so it's not a distraction. Everything can wait.

Unknown said...

Those that are addicted to their phones while driving will definitely find this helpful.

Milton Goh said...

It's really much safer to not use the phone when driving. It's not worth the risk!!

Parenting Patch said...

I get so angry when I see people using their phones while driving. They clearly are not paying full attention to the road and other vehicles.

Unknown said...

What a great initiative! I love that they are encouraging riders to be safe and responsible when driving.

Anonymous said...

Allstate is doing it right, that is such a great way to bring awareness. A text can wait, or just pull over to the side or something.

-Sondra (Prettyfitfoodie)

Theresa said...

I completely agree with your point here. It's really scary to see other drivers on the road as they're texting.

Unknown said...

The interactive pop-up events put on by Allstate is a great idea. I think we all need a reality check on the effects of distracted driving.

David Elliott said...

Those are great tips about things to do with your phone on a trip. Although I really think that blue tooth is just as much of a distraction as your mind is on something else whether or not you can keep your eyes on the road. And that really is the problem.

meech812 said...

Thanks to Allstate for bringing much needed awareness to the topic!

TheJerseyMomma said...

Such an important post!! I think a lot of younger drivers really need to be reminded of this, too. They should take this program to the high schools!

mail4rosey said...

I told my teen to put her phone in the trunk if she's driving. She does when I'm with her. I hope she does when I'm not.

Bree Talks said...

The simulator is such an interesting concept....I hope they'll make a lot of appearances at high schools. It is so easy to be distracted with phones and kids and music. It's good to have strict rules when it comes to driving.

A Cold Cup of Chloe said...

I can't tell you how many times I've had someone swerving on the road in front of me and once I've gotten out of there way, I've realized they were on the phone. SO dangerous :(

Unknown said...

I agree that driving and phone usage don't mix. When I need to use the phone. I either use Bluetooth or I stop. I value my own safety and others' safety.

Mommy Peach said...

I can really ddo away without phones while driving. My greatest distraction is really the kids because they can be quite distracting when they want something. SO it's really agood idea to give them something they could be busy at.

Dkimlaw said...


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