3,721 people died on Texas roads and highways in 2017, marking a 10% increase from the previous year, reports the Insurance Council of Texas.

Why?

“Alcohol, speeding and distracted driving remain the major factors in the majority of accidents on our roadways today,” said Mark Hanna, a spokesperson for the Council.

So, that’s the perfect recipe for dying (or even serious injury) on Texas’ roadways: drink too much, drive distracted by messing around on your smartphone or with your car’s fancy dashboard, and speed.

Please don’t seriously do any of that!

While Texas has a law that bans texting and driving, “distracted driving” actually refers to a number of common behaviors that take your attention off the road:

  • Talking on your phone
  • Eating
  • Putting on makeup
  • Adjusting or optimizing your phone’s app
  • Talking to others in your vehicle
  • Adjusting any gadget on your car’s dashboard
  • Prescription or street drug abuse
  • Drinking any alcohol before driving
  • Being tired while driving

How Do You Actually Change Your Behavior?

You’ve actually heard all these facts before, and perhaps even hundreds of times by now.

The typical defense your mind responds with is some type of minimization:

  • “It’s not going to happen to me.”
  • “I’m too safe of a driver to cause a serious accident.”
  • “I can multitask.”
  • “Insurers just make this up because they want more money in their pockets.”

Maybe you have some of your own unique mental defenses that allow you to continue to drive distracted.

Unfortunately, for most people, it takes something bad to happen before they’re willing to change their behavior.

Some get scared enough when they come close to having an accident. Some actually have an accident. Others have a serious accident. And finally, others lose their lives.

Somehow, you have to force yourself to accept the possibility of seriously bad consequences happening when you drive distracted. Yes, you save time by doing things in your car on your commute to work or while picking your kids up from school. But you do so at the cost of putting yourself, your passengers (who could be your children), and other drivers at increased risk of danger – and even death.

How Else Could You Save Time?

We get it. You have more to do than you have hours in the day.

But, is that worth risking your life for?

Could you talk on the phone while exercising instead? Could you have faster meals in the morning – like healthy shakes? Could you use an app to hire a taxi to take you home from the bars at night?

After all, if you don’t drive distracted, you greatly reduce your risk of a serious accident. Those 3,721 people who died on Texas roads in 2017 didn’t put “get killed in a car crash” in their personal calendars that day. But, either they, or another distracted driver, brought a premature end to their lives.

You can’t control what other drivers do. But you can control what you do. And what you do could easily save your life, the lives of your friends and family, and the lives of others on the road.

And those are things worth changing your behavior for.