While we don’t recommend using your cell phone while driving, as it’s a large cause of distracted driving, sometimes it can be unavoidable. Luckily, there are some cell phone measures that you can follow to make sure you’re staying safe while using your phone.
To start, before you get behind the wheel, know the cell phone usage laws in your state or local area. Fourteen states prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving, and many others ban text messaging or cell phone usage entirely for teen or novice drivers. By being aware of the laws and regulations in your local area, you’re keeping yourself safe (those laws are in place for a reason!) and avoiding hefty fines. The National Conference of State Legislatures provides a chart that outlines cell phone use laws by state.
When in the car, make sure you keep your cell phone within arm’s reach so you’re able to grab it without taking your eyes off the road. However, if possible, using a hands-free device is the best way to use your cell phone while driving. If your car is Bluetooth-enabled, use that method, but you can use many other accessories or even just the speaker function on your phone. Anything that keeps your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel is a great accessory to take advantage of.
Cell phone manufacturers have been working to make their phones safer, so being aware of the specific features offered on your phone is a good idea. Many phones have speed dial, voice commands and other features that can keep your eyes on the road while still being able to dial or answer the phone. Take a few moments to review your cell phone owner’s manual and familiarize yourself with these safety features. And keep in mind that even though you may be using safety features like speed dial or voice commands, it’s always best to dial the phone when you are stopped.
Staying aware of the weather is also something that you should be doing before using your cell phone. On a clear, sunny day, it may be safer to use your cell phone than on a hazy, foggy or rainy or snowy day. That goes for heavy traffic, too. If the roads are congested with a large number of cars, you should be staying as alert as possible, and that means keeping your attention on the road, not your phone.
Texting or surfing the internet while driving is considered distracted driving, and can be incredibly dangerous, so do your best to avoid those activities when driving. If you must, texting should only be done when you are stopped.
A cell phone is the very best tool to utilize in a dangerous situation such as an accident or emergency, but it can also cause many accidents, so be sure to use it in a safe way.