It used to be only a problem for the elite, but driving safety and cell phones have quickly emerged into the forefront of public debate. Nearly everyone is carrying around a mobile phone these days, from BlackBerry power users to casual music listeners. Yes, even grandma is using a cell phone nowadays.
This also means that a fairly substantial amount of motorists on the road also have a cell phone within arm's reach, and as such, driving safety is of utmost importance. Add to this the pre-existing distractions of checking one's schedule, checking one's makeup in the vanity mirror, and adjusting the radio and you can see how little attention is left for actual driving.
Driving Safety and Cell Phones
When you're first learning how to operate a motor vehicle, the driving instructor usually tells you that the most important skill is that of observation. It is absolutely vital to be aware of your complete surroundings at all times, anticipating any potential hazards not only on the road ahead of you, but also beside and behind you. You never know where the next danger may come from.
When you're talking on a cell phone, however, driving does not have your full and undivided attention. This could result in a potential disaster. This is above and beyond the possibility of tumors caused by cell phones. But that's a separate discussion altogether.
Laws on Talking on Cell Phones While Driving
Laws vary from country to country, state to state. What may be perfectly legal in one city, for example, may warrant an infraction ticket of several hundred dollars in another only minutes away. It is best to stay informed on all the laws regarding the use of cell phones while on the road. Just as wearing a seatbelt is law for your own safety, the same can be said about laws that ban the use of cell phones while driving.
Whether it is legal to do so or not, we here at LoveToKnow recommend that you avoid talking or text messaging while behind the wheel. Here are a few driving tips that you may want to keep in mind.
- Use that voicemail. All mobile phone operators give you the option of adding voicemail to your cell phone plan. Why not just let the machine take it? You can always return the call when you get to your destination.
- Let someone else answer. If you have passengers in the car, it is better for them to take the call on your behalf than to have your attention diverted from the road.
- Use a Bluetooth headset. This lets you keep both hands on the wheel so that you can best react to the road conditions. Some have said that it is more about the distraction of being in a conversation that results in accidents, as well as the fact that the person on the other end of the line isn't aware of your current road conditions (upcoming intersections, merging, etc.). Having a headset may not be a complete "cure", but it certainly can't hurt.
Better Safe Than Sorry
The concerns surrounding driving safety and cell phones will only become more important in the coming years. Thankfully, there is a variety of new technology available on the market that is trying to aid this effort, but it is ultimately up to you as the concerned citizens to do your part and make the roads safer for ourselves, our parents, friends, children and loved ones.
If at all possible, please pull over on the side of the road before making or taking that important call. Better still, wait until you are at your destination before calling back.