Distracted Driving – Cell Phones

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 20,848
    Justin McNaull, AAA Public Affairs, discusses the risks posed by using a cell phone while driving.

    How to Avoid Distracted DrivingCell PhonesJustin McNaull: Hello! I'm Justin McNaull with AAA Public Affairs. We've been discussing how to avoid distracted driving. Now we're going to talk about one of the most infant resources of distraction for drivers, cell phones.

    The use of cell phones and their use behind the wheel is prevalent. You yourself have probably seen more than your fair share of people driving while using their cell phones.

    Despite these trends, driving while using the cell phones has risk. Research supports this fact very clearly. A 2008 review of research using driving simulators found that cell phone use significantly impairs several aspects of driving performance, principally reaction time.

    We know that dialing can be a dangerous distraction, but even just talking on the phone while driving still significantly raises your risk of being in a crash. This is because cell phone distraction involves both the physical distractions of retrieving the phone, dialing, holding it to your ear, and a cognitive distraction caused by paying attention to the phone conversation.

    The fact that cell phone use can be dangerous is probably not newest to you. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety's 2009 survey, they found that 71% of respondents rated talking on a handheld cell phone while driving as an unacceptable driving behavior. Admit it. It's just common sense that you shouldn't do it.

    Some drivers choose to use a headset that eliminates the need to physically hold the phone. In some states, this is the only legal way to use a cell phone while driving. Many of these people wrongly think that this makes them much safer than driving while holding a phone. In reality, research doesn't show it. You're still at danger.

    Both handheld and hands-free phones are fully capable of diverting a driver's attention leading to a crash. Hands-free is not risk-free. The bottom line is that drivers should always avoid cell phone use while behind the wheel.

    We recognize that this may seem difficult. After all, answering the phone is an impulsive act. Not only we're socially acclimated to always answer the phone. Many people now feel pressured to be available over the phone at all times, nearly two-thirds of drivers, according to survey by Nationwide Insurance. People also talk on the phone for social reasons or to escape the monotony of driving.

    Here are some strategies to help break these habits. You can always rely on one time-worn feature that's already built-in to every phone. It's the Power button, just turn the phone off. Turning off your phone before you drive and even putting it far out of reach can help keep you from being tempted to use it while on the road. So remember, when you power up your car, power down your device. Store your phone away safely and securely.

    A large number of crashes are attributed to drivers searching the floor for dropped cell phone. Your phone should be safely secured along with all other objects, so that it doesn't slide around when the car is in motion, or become a projectile on crash.

    Use the message taking functions on your phone, and wait to check messages, and return calls only when the car is stopped at a safe location off the roadway. You could also use your voice message to tell callers why you can't answer. Tell them that you're driving that you'll return the call promptly. You can recruit a passenger in the car to manage your cell phone used for you. Someone who can answer the phone for you, take a message or speak on your behalf. Remember, be safe behind the wheel; be social off the road.

    There are circumstances in which a mobile cell phone can sometimes help road safety. There maybe an emergency situation in which you should use your cell phone to dial 911. Motors can rely on them. They call for help when other phones may not be nearby.

    For the purpose of emergencies, familiarize yourself with the features of your cell phone before you get behind the wheel. When you're making a call in emergency situation, let the person you're speaking would know you're in a vehicle and driving, so that they'll keep the call short.

    So those are some tips to help keep you safe on the road. Wait until you're off the road to use the phone, while you're on the road, focus on your driving. This next video will address some of the most dangerous distractions that have emerged in recent years, text messaging and emailing while driving.