The art of multitasking is great if you can pull it off. But while on the roads, finishing your cup of coffee, steering the wheel, changing gears, watching the traffic and using your cell phone, all at once, can be the best way to cause an accident. There was this car bumper sticker that was doing the rounds at one point of time – “Honk if you love Jesus and talk on your cell phone if you want to reach him faster!” Drivers think that using a hands-free device is the solution to all their problems of driving and communicating. This is definitely better than using your hands to grip the phone but, in the long run, the drivers are bound to get distracted. A moment of distraction on the road could lead to a lifetime of regret. Some of the risks of talking on a mobile phone in moving vehicles, especially when you are driving in traffic, are given in the next section.
Using Mobile Phone While Driving A Car
- Studies have proven that there are two types of people most prone to having an accident are: new drivers and teenagers. New drivers have less experience and hence focusing on the road must be more of a priority than being on the phone. Teen drivers (most of them atleast!) have a tendency to check text messages or facebook to reply back to their friend immediately. This is very dangerous and is even worse than just speaking and listening.
- In the US alone, there are over 100 million cell phones and the reason why drivers like to use them when driving is so that they can optimize their time in the vehicle. It could be automobilists, drivers of vans, trucks and buses; but the effects are the same – disastrous.
- Internet on phone has provided considerable distraction for most people. Either a teenager uses twitter to update his/her status or a business professional tries to send an email or someone tries to simply surfing the net! Linking cellular communications with fax machines has also made life in cars (by using mobiles) even more unsafe. People do all this without realizing that it could cost them their lives.
- Several studies on this subject reveal that drivers adjust their driving according to the road condition. Drivers talking on the phone (cell phone or hands-free) while driving do not perform as well as those who drive undistracted by these devices. Shockingly, even after hanging up the phone the drivers’ attention does not return to normal for several minutes. It was found that drivers were too involved with their phones.
- There are many countries that have banned the usage of cell phones while driving. In Australia, it is banned and fines are imposed in different states. In Belgium, phones can be used without a hands free unit when the car is stationary (e.g. traffic signals). As in India, there is a ban of use of cell phones and hands free units (July 2001) while driving. Other countries include Pakistan, Japan, Kenya, Norway etc.
Tips (If You Must Talk While Driving):
- Stop the car on the side of the road till you finish the call. Avoid social calls.
- Using a hands-free device is better than using the handset.
- Get to know your phone well – the features and where the call buttons are.
- Keep your phone in an easily accessible position in the car. It can’t be in your pocket or inside the dashboard!
- Just talk and listen. Don’t take notes or phone numbers during the conversation.
- End the call during hazardous conditions.
Be sensible while using your cell phone while driving or else it might either be the last time you use the phone or the last time you drive like a free man!