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7 Tricks to Make Yourself Stop Texting and Driving

Despite knowing the dangers of texting and driving, many people still do it. Take these steps to keep your hands on the wheel and off of your phone.

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Understand that the dangers of texting and driving are very real

The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that 1.6 million automobile accidents happen every year because of distracted drivers on their cell phones. All of those crashes cause around 500,000 injuries and led to 6,000 deaths. Verizon Wireless reported that "people who read or write text messages while driving are 23 percent more likely to be involved in a car crash than other drivers." The statistics about the dangers of texting and driving speak for themselves, yet people continue to text and drive despite the danger it can put not only you in, but also other drivers. Keep your eyes on the road, and those signs on your dashboard.

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Turn your cellphone on silent or turn it completely off

Not sure how to stop texting and driving? Try turning your cellphone on silent or completely off. That way, you won't feel obligated to pick it up and respond to a text or answer a call when you hear the notification ding or phone call ring. (Check out these safe driving tips for scary situations.)

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Put your cellphone in an out-of-reach spot

Try putting your phone in the trunk or in your bag that you place on the back seat. This way, even if it rings, you won't be able to get to it. You also won't be distracted by the constant notifications popping up on your screen.

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Set everything up before you put the car in drive

Before you pull out of your driveway or the parking lot, respond to any necessary calls or texts so that you won't need to once you start driving. Also, if you are going someplace unfamiliar, set your GPS while still in park so that you aren't messing with it on the road. Many newer cars won't even let you operate the GPS when you're not in park.

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Choose a designated texter

Similar to having a designated driver to avoid drunk driving, choose one of your passengers to be your dedicated texter. They can answer all of your calls and text messages while you keep your eyes on the road.

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Pull over

If your message or text can't wait, pull over to answer. If it's a quieter road, pull over and put your hazards on. If you're on the highway, wait for a rest stop or text stop to pull over.

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Use apps that block texting and driving

There are many apps you can download to help you avoid texting and driving. Some stop your phone from receiving text messages and calls while you're driving, others send automatic reply messages explaining that you are driving and aren't able to answer right now. Some apps even reward you for not texting and driving; they track when you're on the move and will give you with coupons and discounts depending on how far you travel without touching your phone.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest