Using your phone while driving: What you need to know

Many car accidents are caused by people using their phone while driving. In most countries around the world, it is now illegal to use a handset while driving for this reason. Is there a safer way to use a phone while driving? Or are you better off not using your phone at all? This post explores everything you need to know about using your phone while in a car. 

NEVER USE YOUR HANDSET – EVEN IN STILL TRAFFIC

From the moment you pull away to the moment you park up, you should avoid touching your handset. Behaviour like texting while driving can increase your risk of being in a fatal accident by almost 900 per cent. However, even taking two seconds to cancel a call or end a route on your GPS can distract you enough to be in an accident.

This includes when you’re stuck in a traffic jam. While your vehicle may be still, you can still be arrested for using your phone. You’re technically still on the road and there are still things to be wary of such as a motorcycle trying to pass or the car in front needing to reverse slightly. A car accident lawyer will be able to easily build a case against you if you were on your phone during an accident, so it’s best to not touch it at all. 

ENABLE HANDS-FREE CALLS

Most modern smartphones allow you to make and receive calls hands-free. If you need to answer calls while on the road, this technology can allow you to do so legally. It’s also much safer than using a handset (although it can still have its dangers, which are discussed later). 

There are a few different ways to do this. The most common way is to link up your phone’s bluetooth signal with your car’s bluetooth signal – calls should then come through your car’s speakers. If your car doesn’t have in-built bluetooth, another option is to buy a bluetooth speaker that clips onto your car interior that you can link your phone to. You could also consider fitting your car with a bluetooth radio if it has a removable radio. There may also be the option of connecting your phone via USB.

It’s possible to use voice commands to control other phone functions such as selecting songs on a playlist or even composing texts. However, you should be careful of trying to do anything too complex while driving as this may take a lot of concentration. 

BUY A PHONE MOUNT FOR YOUR GPS

Do you often use your phone’s GPS to help you get around? Buying a phone mount can allow you to place your phone in a convenient place where you can easily glance at it while driving. This allows you to safely check your route without having to take your eyes away from the road for too long. The phone mount should be placed somewhere central with the phone screen facing slightly towards you. 

LET A PASSENGER ANSWER THE PHONE

Hands-free phone calls can still be a distraction while driving. While you can still keep your eyes on the road, your reactions may be slower or you may miss signs if you’re also having to focus on a phone conversation. 

This is why it’s safer to let a passenger answer the phone where possible. If the caller needs to talk to you, the passenger can simply tell them to call back at another time. This prevents you from being distracted.

PULL OVER TO USE THE PHONE

Another safe solution is to pull over whenever you need to use your phone – whether it’s to call someone back, check your route on your GPS or select a new music playlist. Make sure to pull over somewhere safe and legal. 

TURN OFF YOUR PHONE WHILE DRIVING

If you’re easily tempted to use your phone while driving, the safest thing to do could be to turn it off or put it on silent. You can check your phone when you arrive at your destination. 

PLAN FREQUENT STOPS ON LONG JOURNEYS

Frequent stops are important on long journeys as they can help you to maintain concentration on the road. They could also be an opportunity to check your phone so that you’re not having to go hours without looking at your phone. This could prevent you from being paranoid that you may have missed a call if your phone is switched off. 


Photo Credit: Newspress

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