Don’t Get Distracted: How to Safely Use Your Phone in Your Car
July 18, 2017
How do I make calls and send text while driving?
1. Use a Bluetooth headset to answer incoming calls.
2. Use a text response service to automatically reply to people to inform them that you are driving.
3. Pull over to a gas station, parking lot, or similar area to use your phone while in the middle of a drive.
4. Hand over your phone to a competent passenger to answer messages while you drive.
By now, the importance of ignoring your phone while driving (a.k.a. actually having full focus on the road) is common knowledge. Yet somehow it’s still inevitable – drivers of apps like Grab and Uber need to coordinate with riders they have to pick up, and pretty much everyone has had to rely on Waze or Google Maps every once in a while to go in the right direction. Other reasons why drivers use their phone en route includes needing entertainment or a time-waster while being stuck in heavy traffic. Sometimes people just need to be able to communicate and coordinate with others while they’re driving. Just like the demand for a universal muffler, the demand for a safe way to communicate while driving is high. Here are a few tips that you can practice to do so.
If you are using your phone as a GPS Navigation System, then it is important to know where to mount it properly so that it won’t get in the way of your view. You can use a universal windshield or dashboard mount to secure it anywhere on the upper portion of your dashboard. However, you must check if this is legal in your city/country since some countries like the Philippines are looking to ban its use. To place it on the lower part of the dashboard, you can use a CD-Slot mount or a magnet mount.
Use a Bluetooth Headset
Investing in a Bluetooth headset with voice activation is useful for answering important calls on the road without risking driving with only one hand. If setup properly, you can wear this while driving and simply use a voice command to pick up any call. If you don’t have a Bluetooth headset yet, try starting the call before you start the drive, setting in on speaker, and docking it near the dashboard. Doing so allows you to safely talk to your important contact while driving. You can ask the person on the other line to end the call when you’re done so you don’t need to fumble around for the end call button yourself.
Put Your Phone on Silent or Turn it Off
To easier avoid temptation of answering texts, calls, and social media notifications, turn the phone off or put it on silent and place it somewhere you cannot see. This way, you will never feel compelled to answer to anyone.
Texting is the worst thing you can do while driving because it takes 4 to 5 second on average for one to send a text, so your eyes are focused on your phone rather than the road. In this short amount of time, you could travel the entire length of a rugby field if you go at 90 kph! Texting is one of the more dangerous distractions when driving as it requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention.
If it is important that you don’t ‘ignore’ someone’s text (such as in the case where you’re expecting an urgent text from work), then consider a text response service catered for driving situations. You can learn how to set one up here.
Pull Over or Hand Over
Safer alternatives to the above are to either pull over or hand over. You can pull over where possible, such as a gas station or parking area by the road, so you can switch your full attention to text or call without risking any lives. To encourage yourself to do this, place your phone somewhere in car that’s impossible for you to reach. This way, you are required to pull over if you want to answer.
‘Hand over’ is the most obvious of all tips here: hand over your phone to a passenger and have them respond for you. However, don’t do this when your passenger is a very young child as it may cause more stress and danger for you.
These are all very useful hacks, but the safest driving practice is to avoid using your phone at all while on the road. Always remember that your life and the lives of others are more important than any conversation you feel like you need to attend to right away.