We have all seen "that guy" (that kid, that businessman, that young lady, or that busy mother) on the road; the driver in front of us, one lane over but slowly encroaching into ours. A tap of your horn jerks their head back to what they should be doing – driving-while-not-texting. So dangerous, so commonplace.
What the heck, we’re all busy. We’re all impatient. We all try to do too much. And driving seems like down-time. Right? So let’s make good use of our “down time” and get some tasks accomplished - while we drive.
Not a good move. We hope our loved-ones aren’t doing that. We think that they might be. So let’s have a talk with them.
But we can’t yell, threaten, rant or rave. We have to actually help them understand the consequences. We have to help them understand and internalize that bad things can happen; that lives are unalterably effected by people who text while driving.
There is an art to persuasion. “Creating effective persuasion involves logic, emotions and ethos”, says William Ellet in a Harvard Business Review blog.
So, first, you must deal in logic: have the facts. Go here for facts as reported in a study by the National Hwy Traffic Safety Administration. For instance:
- Text messaging increased the risk of a crash or near-crash by two times and resulted in the driver's eyes off the road for an average of 23.3 seconds total.
- Manual-visual interactions involved with using a hand-held phone made its overall use 1.73 times more risky [then talking on a cell phone], since the use of these devices involve visual manual tasks 100 percent of the time.
- More facts on driving while distracted may be found here.
Now our loved one has some facts. But we must also engage another part of their brain. We must present evidence that will engage their emotions. Try these:
- A YouTube video with interviews of real people dealing with the consequences of a texting-while driving driver. You won’t soon forget it – and perhaps it will cause your loved one to delay the text, the e-mail check, or the GPS programming until they are off the highway. IF YOU ONLY VIEW ONE VIDEO, VIEW THIS ONE!
- A short video from the NHTSA with visual message about what could happen.
- One more for all of you who have parents.
The final component of persuasion includes ethos. What is that? Harvard Business Review blogger Ellet explains it this way, “Ethos is the audience's perception of a speaker's or writer's character as conveyed through the persuasion”.
Are you believable, trustworthy, and is your message consistent with your beliefs and actions? In other words, don’t tell your loved-one not to drive-while-distracted if you excuse yourself for such behavior.
Heads up. Phones down. Let’s make Horry County’s roads safer for your family and mine.