Week 3 of my Summer of Value Evaluation

The garage door opens. I take a deep breath as I turn the ignition. The Honda Civic “roars” up as it starts, and I began to back out slowly. Closing the garage door behind me, I speed off down the Townhouse lane that connects my block of townhouses to the actual road. All of a sudden, the sound of a message can be heard, coming from my phone. I instinctively grab the phone without taking my eyes off the road. I unlock it with an automatic swiping motion that my thumb has been conditioned to perform. I don’t even look down to see what’s going on until I am on the road, making sure no cars are coming and I see a simple message. It was a friend, and the text read “I’ll be there in 10.”

Okay, that was anticlimactic.

So wait, I just made a risky decision to just read “Be there in 10” in a simple text message? People’s lives were at stake! I could have hit another car! And all just to read something that clearly could have waited for my next destination.

This has been a common thing to do, ever since I started to drive, I was texting and driving. I SnapChatted and drove, I Tweeted and drove, Facebook, Tinder, Instagram, and the works. It was natural to me. I've never had difficulty doing it, or so I thought.

Naturally, many friends have told me not to do this and stopped texting me as soon as they figure it out. Other times, people are fine with it. It’s interesting to see the spectrum of responses that come from it. My stance before was that I was “well aware of the risks” of using the device, many of them having huge consequences, and that I’d take responsibility for anything that occurred. But lately, I've been thinking…

What value am I getting out of using technology while driving?

Just for reference.

Just for reference.

So that’s a question, filled with a lot more questions. What is technology in the car? Is it just the phone? Is it an iPod? Does it include the car stereo? Does it include the computer that’s built in the car? What about that button that releases the sunroof? I admit, I am really getting picky on what is what, but if we wish to evaluate this, we got to define it as something. For this instance, technology will refer to any device that is external to the car itself.

So, I think this question is more or less not on the risk that entails using your mobile, but what value you get out of it, and then how does it compare to the risk? Does that seem fair?

It’s interesting, because GPS and other systems didn't have nearly as much controversy around them as mobile phones do (which can potentially be used for the same thing). Calling someone with your phone isn't really considered “life threatening” anymore, yet there are studies suggesting that being on the phone and talking to someone is just as distracting as texting is. But wait, aren't you still looking at the road? I don’t know what to think of that.

I have noticed that I've begun to feel more distracted while driving, and it surrounds my mobile a lot. There’s a lot of stuff I check while driving that’s not related to me getting to Point B. I catch myself on Facebook every now and then, and I try not to do so. I even am practicing self-restraint for text messages. I guess I should start heeding to the advice from this NSC infographic.

I guess I don’t have a conclusion from this, but it’s something I’ll be thinking about, considering I spend a lot of time in the car, generally to get my Public Radio fix. Upon reflection, I don’t really get as much value out of these apps standing still, so why put in the risk for using them while driving?

So, what do you think? What are your experiences with mobile technology while you’re driving?

This post was a bit rambly, and didn't have a nice conclusion, but I wanted to get something up on the blog. Definitely want this to spur some discussion this time

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