Is It Possible To Use A Cell Phone Safely While Driving?

Man driving in his car using cell mobile phone, dangerous situation

Man driving in his car using cell mobile phone, dangerous situation

No matter where you go, it seems that people are stuck to their phone. Now, let’s do a mental exercise for just a small moment. Imagine that you have no phone. Imagine that the only access to a phone that you have at your disposal is the local pay phone ( which hardly exist anymore) or your land line at home. Ok, so envision this. Most of us cannot, which is the simple and sad truth. Most of us feel naked when we forget our phones at home or when our batteries slowly draining. There is an uneasy feeling at the pit of your stomach, your phone is about to die. Your lifeline. How else will you have access to the world? Get the information you so desperately and instantly crave? Well, this article is written for you Houstonian.

The issue with this undeniable cell phone obsessed society is that we get to used to have unfettered access to information that we continue this trend sometimes at work and sometimes when we drive. The statistics speak for themselves, it is something like 90% of adults in North America have access to a cell phone. This however can become a problem when people decide to use their phones while driving. If you are a passenger then I believe there is no real danger, but as a driver you cannot be focusing on the task at hand if you are distracted. Most people if asked would agree that they are excellent multi-taskers and if you fall within this category maybe you think that you have never had an accident while on your phone and that it is something that is second nature. The danger however, lies within those few seconds that you are distracted doing something other than driving and watching your surroundings. How many surgeons are texting during an operation, how many race car drivers text while doing a few laps? The answer to both is none. Driving is a privilege and you must drive with caution because other peoples lives are in your hand. The people within your car, including yourself and those innocent bystanders that just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This unknown factor is determined by a set of laws that help everyone be on the same page, insures that everyone is being as safe as possible. Many states view cell phone usage behind the wheel as a form of impaired driving because honestly it is. You are distracted – it’s as easy as that. There are states that have pioneered this movement. The Garden State (New Jersey), Connecticut (Which is sometimes referred to as the Tri-State Area) and California (the most densely populated state) have all opted to prohibit the use of cell phones while driving . Only in the case of an emergency – there are a little less than 20 states that have prohibited the use of cell phones to new and inexperienced drivers and this also applies to bus drivers. Here in Texas we believe that safety is the best policy. The statistics don’t lie, a 20% of all car accidents reported involve distracted drivers. We do not have a statewide ban on cell use while driving, there are rules that need to be followed to be considered within the law.

Now, if you believe that these laws should not apply to you, even though they do, there are some suggestions as to how to use your cell phone safely. The key is to limit distractions and you will notice if you have purchased a car in the last five years that this has been taken into consideration when the cars are being designed and manufactured. The term is Bluetooth. Your car may have blue tooth capabilities which allow you to take and make calls from your cars dashboard. This consists of a microphone that you can talk into. If you car is a little older then your cell phone probably has an auxiliary port in which you could place a hands free earpiece that consists of a small microphone and earpiece. This is known as hands free or you can use a wireless solution which can be accessed by touching a button on the earpiece itself.

With the Bluetooth system you can hear who you are speaking to throughout the car through the speaker system. A lot of these have voice recognition capabilities which can sometimes be a good thing and sometimes can be incredibly frustrating. Now, what is recommended is that you use your phone as little as possible when driving. Cell phones were made for a purpose to make a call when out of your house. Well, most of us do not spend countless hours in a car, most of us use our cars to get us from point A to point B. Whatever you need to say can most likely wait until you make it to your destination. This is the safest way to ensure that your focus is where it should be, on your surrounding, your speed limit, the traffic lights, traffic cops, other drivers, pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, heavy vehicles such as semis, etc. etc. etc.

What almost everyone can agree on is that texting and driving is not only very difficult, but very unnecessary. In order to text you need to move your focus away from the street and not crashing into someone and refocus your eyes on a teeny tiny screen and try to get the spelling correct. Even abbreviations LOL, OMW, TY, you name it take focus away from the task at hand and nationally causes around 430,000 injuries or deaths due to distracted driving.

How to combat sleepiness when driving

              sleepy tired woman driver

What do you do when you HAVE to drive somewhere and you are sleepy or are not the correct condition to drive? Well, this is a question that is posed quite often, loved ones ask one another…”Do you have to leave so late?” Most of us reading a car blog like this can agree that we enjoy cars, we like to learn about them and we appreciate useful information regarding how to be better at driving them. If you like to drive and especially at night because traffic may be less intense and you can really let the throttle lose and just go – then you may have experienced a very common phenomenon.

Sleepiness while driving. Driving a car requires a combination of coordinated efforts. Lets see: Hands on the wheel control what direction you go in, your right foot in an automatic and left and right in a manual car have to operate simultaneously. So at this point we have the coordinated efforts of two actions, now we need to be aware of our speed as to not put ourselves or others in harms way. Then we have our surroundings, the unknown to try to factor in and these increment exponentially if it is nighttime and visibility is less.

Therefore imaging trying to coordinate all of this, seamlessly all the while your eyelids are heavy, you keep yawning incessantly and you do the tricks that you know in order to stay up. 1) open the windows, putting your windows down can help you wake up especially if it is a little cold out. The cold air that whips your face and arms can have a very sobering effect on your sleep. 2) Rock out, turn the radio up as high as you can. It would be better to get accused of noise pollution verses crashing because you are tired. Once you are rocking out to a good song, why not sing along and really get into it.

It is hard to be sleepy when you are listening to a song that you really enjoy. If your yawns are getting more progressive, then pull over. If you are driving on the highway, find the next rest stop, gas station or restaurant and go to the parking lot to rest. If you are resigned to driving and cannot do anything to avoid it and need to get from point A to point B now…then drink or eat something sugary or an energy drink. These tend to process fairly quickly into the body and when you get that ever familiar sugar high then you should be able to squeeze some more miles out of your journey until you can stop somewhere safe.

These suggestions are helpful if you are alone, but it is even better if there is someone in the car with you, because they may not be tired and can get you to your desired destination. You can discuss anything under the stars or merely go to sleep now that the driving is left to someone else. If you have ever taken a road trip with kids then you will know that there are boundless games that are easy and fun to play while driving down the road. Off the top of my head is “I spy”, you see something and then use a word to describe it, it is red, small and in the car. This gets the passenger thinking and you can get some good miles underway playing this innocent and super engaging game.

Stretching can be a great way to combat sleepiness. Stop, get out and stretch. It is important to remember that being tired behind the wheel is no different than being under the influence, you do not have 100% of your faculties and it is risky and dangerous. What we recommend is that you realize that no matter how much you may want to get to your destination, it makes more sense to get there later or earlier and not risk not only your life but everyone’s around you as well. Food for thought.