Friday, November 18, 2011

Do cell phones and driving mix?

What did we do before we had cell phones? Are you old enough to remember the days of having to find a public pay phone to make a call while on the road? That was very inconvenient, and even dangerous at times. Now we can whip out our handy cell phone to call for roadside assistance or call for help in an emergency. That makes us all feel a lot safer.

But are we really? Not according to most news stories involving cell phone use by drivers. Those stories often list cell phone use as a contributing factor to many auto accidents and traffic violations – distracted drivers are not safe drivers.

So if having a cell phone can make us safer in an emergency, but can also be the cause of the same emergency – what’s the solution? How about using some common sense and a little more caution. Cell phones are indispensable tools of communication, we just need to manage them better – especially while driving.

Here are a few safety tips that can help you use your cell phone responsibly when you’re behind the wheel:

1) No talking on a cell phone while you are actively driving.

2) If you need to answer a call or make one, try to pull off the road into a safe parking area.

3) Make sure your phone is within easy reach, not in the glove compartment or a purse where you might have to dig for it.

4) Use a hand’s free device like a Bluetooth headset or earpiece that allows you to talk while both hands remain on the wheel.

5) Hands-free or not, postpone conversations that are either emotional or complex.

6) Do not send text messages or try to read incoming messages while driving.

7) Use your cell phone only in the event of an emergency in which you need help or someone else needs help.

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Drive safely!

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