I text while driving. I try not to, but I do. And I know what you're thinking. I get it. You think I'm careless. You think I'm reckless. You think I'm dangerous. You say I'm an accident waiting to happen; that I'll probably get killed one day; that I might even kill you. I tell you now, I understand. But I don't care. I have places to be, text messages to send. At times I've been brilliant, multitasking to perfection; typing 'Brobdingnagian' while making a double lane change in Austin rush-hour traffic. Other times I've swerved, or barely hit the brake in time, only to throw my phone in the backseat and make that same promise to never again send a text message while operating a vehicle. Okay, so I care. But despite caring, I've found that there isn't a scare, short of an accident, that will deter me from texting while driving. Not even the law. And being that I'd rather not die, or kill you, all in the name of an anecdotal text that just as well could have been typed while in park, I've since developed a set of rules. These rules, when followed, have been as fool-proof as directions for walking while chewing a piece of gum (excuse the triteness). I no longer swerve. I'm no longer forced to slam on my brakes. And for the past eight months, my "Texting While Driving Protocol" has saved both our lives. Rule 1: Predict the Future. Know how the road will unfold as you divert your attention to your phone. As "10 and 2" drivers, we're already required to predict the actions of and be accountable for all objects in and around our path (i.e cars, pedestrians, cyclists, animals). We're regular clairvoyants. And sure, we have laws which aid us in predicting those intended actions of others, but that only further supports my next point: It is not required that our senses be entirely engaged at all times for us to "trust" while on the road; that to look away from the road for x amount of time, as long as a driver can account for all future events that may unfold within the distance travelled during x, is no less safe than looking both ways before one walks across a street, which also requires a level of anticipation. Rule 2: Reestablish your whereabouts after each written word. This means you must LOOK UP after each word you type, and predict 2-3 more seconds of future before typing your next word. Rule 3: Use shorthand. Yes, shorthand. The same shorthand that has been slowly killing language since man's invention of time and his subsequent inventions to save it. But this lax variation of language will keep you in the 2-3 seconds per word range. And I know, you're a writer with high grammatical standards. You punctuate all of your texts. How dare I suggest you replace "tonight" with "2nite"? Just remember: Life > Language. Rule 4: Hold your phone as close to the top of the steering wheel as possible. This will allow for greater access to your peripheral vision, and may help you catch any unforetold objects. But not too high! Unless the law is still on your side. Rule 5: Do NOT text while making a turn.
Not only is it tougher to sense the position of your vehicle in its designated lane, but you also lose any advantage gained by holding your phone in its peripheral position. With these rules in mind, I guarantee that you will be a better driver.