Staying safe on the Minnesota roads means avoiding text messages

There are many myths out there about safe texting on the road. Some people think that teenagers are the only ones who cause crashes when they text and drive. Other people might think that it is okay to read a message, as long as they use voice to text program to compose their response. The truth is that there is no safe way to text while in control of a vehicle.

Even though you might think that you're a good enough driver to compensate for it, it simply isn't possible to text and drive safely. The best thing you can do to keep yourself safe and help everyone arrive at their intended destination is to commit yourself to turning off your ringer and keeping your phone out of your hands for as long as you are on the road.

Minnesota has laws against texting while driving

Unlike drunk driving, which has federal rules in place that states must adhere to or improve upon, there is no federal standard for texting at the wheel. Each individual state gets to set its own rules. That has led to a lot of confusion, especially among drivers who routinely travel from state to state.

Some people may think that the only ban is on young drivers texting, as that is common in some states. Others may not think it is a criminal act at all. However, Minnesota has broad distracted driving laws. Specifically, the law in Minnesota prohibits composing, reading or sending text messages.

If law enforcement officers catch you doing any of these, they may pull you over and issue a ticket. In fact, even if you are stopped at a traffic light, it is still illegal to text while driving. For teenage drivers, any mobile phone usage, including talking hands-free, is against the law. For adults, manually texting or reading texts is also a violation.

Hearing your notifications can result in mental distraction

Even if you accept that reading, composing and sending text messages is dangerous, you might think there's nothing wrong with just setting your smartphone in your cup holder or on the seat next to you. However, as social media notifications, emails or text messages reach your phone, the vibration or ringtones notifying you of those messages will likely demand your attention.

If your brain focuses on imagining what the message or email might be, you won't be totally involved in the process of safely driving. The best and safest way to handle your phone in your car is to turn your ringer off and place your phone out of your immediate reach.

If you have someone in the vehicle and you are waiting for an important message, you can have that person read incoming emails or text messages. Otherwise, there is nothing you want to read or send that can't wait until you get where you're going safely.

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