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  • Writer's pictureBill Hardesty

The Confessions of a Bad Driver

I have two bad driving habits. I have more, but I am only confessing two. The first is I am a passive driver, and the second my phone is a distraction.

An active driver is in constant information-gathering mode — What's the speed limit? What's my speed? Is that car ahead too close? Is that car going to change lanes without signaling? How far is my exit?

On the other side, a passive driver like me, rather than thinking about driving, I am thinking about dinner or grooving to my playlist. The problem is that when I see brake lights in front of me, it's too late. By the time my data gathering goes from passive to active, I may be already recovering from getting hit by an airbag.

Passive driving can lead to one of the 1.7 million rear-end accidents each year.

My second bad habit is allowing my phone to be a distraction. I usually keep it in my pocket, with the inconvenience of having to fumble to get it. Other times, I throw it on the passenger seat, having to reach over to get it. The worst scenario is when I hit the brakes, and my expensive smartphone goes sailing onto the floor. Either way, I must take my eyes off the road.

Cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year.

I found one solution to help with both harmful habits. I couple my smartphone with a hand-free phone holder, and I downloaded the Wavyn driving app.

My phone to prevent accidents rather than causing it.

To get most of the Wavyn app, I needed the right holder. I liked a suction glass gooseneck holder. The holder sticks on the front window and allows every driver to adjust the phone for their use. It also lets the back camera on the smartphone to see through the front window. Now that my smartphone is monitoring possible changes on the road, I can react sooner.

On top of that, the app tells me when I am speeding - Okay, another bad habit to confess. A recent speeding check cost me $120 — certainly, more expensive than my current setup.

An added benefit of my setup is I am legal. So far, 21 states including Massachusetts along with DC and other territories prohibited all drivers from using hand-held cellphones while driving. This number will increase. Australia already rolled out cameras to catch drivers on their phones. You can no longer have the phone in one hand and drive with the other or worse yet, tuck the phone between your shoulder and your ear. Well, you can do it, but be ready to pay the price if you get caught — e.g., in Oregon is $1,000 for first-time and $2,000 for second-time offenses. Be sure to check the specifics of your state law.

The best way to break a habit is to be rewarded for a new habit. A unique feature of the Wavyn app is designed to do that. I earn safe driving points with each trip, and I get higher points by not using my phone while driving. For some of us goal-oriented, obsessed people, a score can always be higher. Driving is now like running. I am striving for my personal best.

The Wavyn driving app, along with a hands-free phone mount, has allowed me to become a better driver, and make the road safer.

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