Using a Phone While Driving
Using a phone while driving is sometimes very tempting. After all, when your phone is ringing you may feel the need to pick it up – it may just take a moment to do so. However, using a cell phone while driving is a form of distracted driving, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says killed 3,450 lives in 2016. While you know you should not be using a cell phone while driving, there are a few tips to help you manage calls and messages in a safe manner while you are behind the wheel.
Cell Phone Use While Driving Causes Distracted Driving
It’s critical to understand the risks associated with using cell phones while driving. When you look at your phone to read a text message or to make a phone call, you are taking your eyes off the road. It may only be a split second, but you could hit another person, hit a vehicle, or cause an accident to occur by swerving. More so, talking on the phone while driving in itself is a form of distracted driving.
It's never a good thing to talk on the phone or engage in any type of distracted driving. Even if you think it will only take a second, it can put yourself and those in the car at risk of a serious and life-threatening accident. Distracted drivers can often be as unfocused as intoxicated drivers in some cases.
Know Texting and Driving Laws
It’s important to know what local texting and driving laws are. Many states are incorporating these, while other cities are enforcing them. The key to know is that if the city has a law like this, it means you can face fines and a ticket for simply driving in that community with your phone in your hand. It may seem like a frustrating situation, but it is designed to keep other people safe.
Everyone has been behind a driver who is on the phone before. They tend to drive slower to compensate for their lack of focus on the road. They may swerve a bit from side to side. Some are unpredictable and may even hit your car as they don’t pay attention to road conditions. You don’t want to be one of these drivers.
Cell Phone Use while Driving – What Your Car Insurance Wants You to Know
It is also important to realize that these laws can impact your car insurance over time. If you get a ticket for using a cell phone behind the wheel or for texting and driving, that ticket can impact the points on your license. Car insurance companies see this as a risky behavior. As a result, your insurance rates can go up drastically.
The most common situation occurs when a driver is charged with reckless driving because of using a cell phone that causes an accident. Now, the auto insurance company has to pay for the damage to another person’s car and, in some cases, compensation for the loss of life. That’s expensive. You can avoid this by not using a cell phone while driving. It can help keep your auto insurance rates lower if you don’t get pulled over for this type of situation.
Alternatives for Using a Handheld Phone in the Car
What do you do, then, when you need to communicate with someone? Sure, it’s frustrating to have to wait especially when an emergency situation arrives. There are a few options to consider here. First, consider pulling over to the side of the road. This is a fast and easy way to get out of the roadway to make a call. It is also the safest option and one you can do just about anywhere.
In addition to this, consider a handheld phone. Many modern vehicles allow you to set up the in-dash system to connect directly to your mobile phone network. This means you can use voice commands to tell the vehicle to call a person or to send a text message. This is by far the most important thing you can do to keep yourself safe while using a phone in a car.
How to Prevent Distracted Driving
It’s very tempting to reach over and check your messages or to take a photo while driving. Don’t do it. To prevent this, put your cell phone in the back seat out of the way. This way, even if you are tempted to reach for it, it is very hard to do. You can also put it into the glove box or turn it off while you are on it. Some phones now offer driving mode which detects when you are driving and turns off.
Cell use while driving is never a good thing – but it isn’t the only way to stay safe. Be sure you avoid distracted driving to protect those who are in the car with you.