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Three weeks ago, Mochi Magazine staffers took on an important new year’s resolution – pledging to drive without smartphones or distractions for 21 consecutive days. We’ve made it to the finish line. In 21 days, we’ve had a lot of time to think about the way our actions affect us and those around us. According to experts, it takes at least 21 days to get your mind used to new behavior. Breaking old habits and starting new ones was challenging for each of us and there were plenty of temptations we had to learn to ignore, whether it was social media, Pokémon GO or texts. In thinking about the last 21 days, we came up with three tips that helped keep us focused:
- Plan ahead. It can be easy to revert back to old habits, like texting friends you’re on your way or checking traffic as you drive. When you’re in a rush, you’re already distracted. If you’re heading out and on a time crunch, build in those extra minutes to do everything you need, whether that’s mapping your route, grabbing your things or driving. Or if you’re already running late, take a quick second to send messages before you leave, not while you’re in the car.
- Surround yourself with a support system. Our staff took on the challenge as a team. Though we’re spread out across the country, support comes in many forms and it helps to know that you’re accomplishing something together. Pledge with a friend. If driving with others, hand your phone over so they can help respond to urgent messages. It’s always easier to be held accountable for your actions when you have loved ones to encourage you and keep you on track.
- Hide your phone. If all else fails, make sure it’s in a place where you can’t reach for it out of habit. Throw it in the backseat. Lock it in the glovebox. Stick it in the trunk. If you can’t grab it, you can’t use it. And if you absolutely need your phone, that’s where Bluetooth or hands-free technology can help. Even if you don’t have AT&T service, you can download AT&T’s Drivemode app to minimize unnecessary distractions while still using navigation or enjoying music.
By pledging to take on this challenge, we promised to drive safely not only for ourselves but also for people around us, on the road and in our car. It taught us the importance of speaking up too – when you’re a passenger, it’s okay to offer to help your friend text someone back saying “I’ll get back to you.” Driving distracted is never truly safe and puts lives in danger, both when you’re behind the wheel or in the passenger seat.
A huge thank you to those who joined in the challenge with us. Remember, it’s never too late to pledge to drive without distractions. And even if you don’t drive, sharing the message is equally as important, because cars are a major mode of transportation across the country. That means we’re never alone on the road.
This is a sponsored blog post in partnership with AT&T, as part of their It Can Wait campaign. All thoughts and opinions are our own.