We have all done it. Even with the headsets, the hands-free devices, and the ability to connect your phone to your car, all of us have reached for the phone while driving. Whether it’s checking a quick text at a stoplight or messing around with your maps app while driving in a new place, the desire to check your phone could strike at any time.
But how dangerous is it really? Let’s go over some facts about the dangers of phone use while driving, the restrictions about it that are in place in California, and tips for you to stay safe, and connected, on the road.
- The truth about phone-distracted driving
The US Department of Transportation reports that, in 2019, 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. While this can include drivers who are fighting, eating or more; the majority of these deaths were caused by driving while using a cell phone.
- Laws in California on driving and phone use
California law prohibits all motorists from using a cellphone while driving, except when used in hands-free mode. This can lead to increasing fines for each infraction.
- What you can do to avoid this behavior
If you are using your phone to provide music for your car ride, make sure that you will not have to interact with your apps too much. If you are listening to services with many ads, there can be a tendency to want to skip them. If you are the kind of person who can not ignore these things, invest in an ad-free service or satellite radio. You could also find CDs or mp3 playlists to keep yourself occupied.
When it comes to navigation, ensure you have a good place to put your phone. There are mounts you can buy that can be attached to the dashboard in order to secure your phone in an easily visible place.
If you have a system to operate your phone through voice in your car – put it to work for yourself! You will be able to create talk-to-text messages to send, have conversations on speakerphone and answer the phone when it rings. And you can do all this in a safe way because you can keep your hands on the wheel.
For those with a busy phone, it may be worth it to silence or otherwise disable your availability while you are actually driving. For long drives, you can schedule stops to check your messages and calls.
If you are involved in a distracted-driving accident, contact emergency services and the authorities. Reach out to a qualified attorney, as well, to help navigate you through the situation.
Cell phones and cars are both not going anywhere. These things will remain a part of our lives and, with them, so will the compulsion to open your phone while in motion. Just remember that it can really be dangerous, and even deadly, to do so. Make sure to assess the real importance of your duty on the road. If you have your priorities right, you should be able to get around safely and with ease.