On behalf of Drew Wills of Wm. Andrew Wills II, P.C. posted in blog on Thursday, April 13, 2017.

With warmer temperatures upon us, drivers in Colorado Springs no longer need to endure the white-knuckle driving conditions that accompany winter weather’s sleet, ice and snow. In the absence of black ice and blizzards, however, other driving hazards may take their place. The shift in the season entices cyclists and runners to take to the roads for outdoor exercise. Road congestion increases as families enter the highways for holiday vacations. When the lure of the better weather encourages many to leave their houses, drivers need to maintain a level of caution as they operate their vehicles.

An easy way to encourage drivers to be safe is to discourage unnecessary distractions. For most drivers, regardless of age, the diversion that leads to disruption behind the wheel is the smartphone. According to an AT&T poll, 49 percent of adult drivers admitted to texting while driving, in contrast with 43 percent of teens. In their admission, 98 percent of those questioned stated that they knew the practice was dangerous.

Although Colorado has outlawed texting and driving, annual increases in car accidents caused by this activity indicates that is not effective deterrent. It is for this reason that cellphone providers and software designers have created their own smartphone blocking apps. For drivers who can’t commit to powering down their phones, these offerings can be life saving:

1. DriveMode

Developed by AT&T, this free phone app can be used on Android and Apple phones. Drivers who install this app benefit from its simplicity of use and the safety offerings it provides. After downloading DriveMode, drivers benefit from its service whenever their cars exceed 15 mph. In addition to activating on its own, the app blocks calls and texts, but it will transmit an auto reply to those attempting to communicate with the driver.

2. DriveSafe.ly

This application reads incoming messages aloud, so drivers are not tempted to use their phones when the vehicle is in motion. Like DriveMode, this app will automatically respond to the sender to let him know that the driver is engaged.

3. Textecution

The developers of this app designed it to help those who habitually respond to texts behind the wheel. This application will block the smartphone owner from writing or receiving messages once the car is moving over 10 mph. It will not allow the owner to access texts until the car reduces its rate below 10 mph.

The danger associated with texting and driving is that most drivers don’t realize that a short distraction can create a long-term problem. When a vehicle is moving at a speed of 70 mph, the car can travel the length of one football field in three seconds. A lot can happen in three seconds when a driver is searching for the perfect emoji to send to a friend.