At this point, it's pretty obvious people who text and drive are the spawn of a very technologically-savvy Satan. It's just bad news, guys, and it doesn't matter if you're talking to your mom, your friend, or your long-lost boyfriend from fifth grade who just might be your soulmate — turn your phone on silent or pull the car over.
You can also try #X. "What's that," you ask? #X means, "I'm checking out while I drive. Back soon." You can slip this small but powerful tool into just about any conversation, whether you're in the middle of discussing plans to meet up later or having a more serious conversation (like who in your social circle saw that GIF of a kitten eating watermelon). While it may seem like just a hashtag, it's much more than that — #X is the first step in lowering the number of deaths and injuries resulting from distracted driving each year, and it's already making a difference. So whatever your skill level behind the wheel — whether you're just starting to learn or if you've been driving for years and still can't parallel park the car to save your life — this tiny bit of shorthand will help you take a break and focus on the road. You can also post it to your social channels to let everyone in your social circle know you're behind the wheel and can't be disturbed.
Once you tell them about #X, your friends and family will know you're not ignoring them — you're just pressing the pause button on your conversation until you reach your destination. By sharing the tool with your friends and getting them on board, you're not only helping to make the roads safer for everyone, you're also joining a social movement of those in the know trying to do the very same thing.
Over 5 million people, including celebrities like OneRepublic, Tim McGraw, and Demi Lovato have taken the pledge not to text and drive. Lovato sends out the hashtag every time she's about to get behind the wheel, because her life, like yours, moves too fast to take risks. By using this potent social tool, you'll be joining the her ranks and other like-minded, smart drivers. They all know that a person's life is worth more than a text message, and you can show the world you do too, every time you strap on your seat belt.
To learn more about #X, and how you can join the movement, head here.
Nandita Raghuram is a freelance journalist living in Brooklyn.