Driving and cell phone use identifying the hazards involved

Driving and Cell Phone Use: Identifying the Hazards Involved

If you think that driving under the influence of alcohol is still the most dangerous thing you can do behind the wheel, think again. Recent statistics show that driving while talking on a cell phone is just as deadly.
Millions of drivers worldwide talk on their handheld phones daily. So why is it a problem? Cell phones are a proven distraction and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States, cell phone use accounts for more than 25 percent of all police-reported traffic accidents. And this doesn’t even take into account the thousands of accidents that go unreported.
Of course, drivers who are avid cell phone users do take reports like these with a grain of salt. Wireless-phone proponents contend that talking on a cell phone while driving is just as hazardous (or non-hazardous) as, for instance, changing your radio station or flipping from one CD to the next. And with the advent of hands-free phones equipped with Bluetooth technology, it’s easy to brush off the dangers of driving while talking (on the phone) as a gross exaggeration.
There is no denying the advantages of carrying a cell phone in the car: you can call the office when you’re running late, phone loved ones while stewing in traffic, or call for roadside assistance in case of engine or car trouble.
But just the same, the hazards brought about by using cell phones while driving cannot be readily dismissed. After all, the use of cell phones while driving has already been banned in countries like Australia, Spain, Israel, Portugal, Italy, Brazil, Chile, Switzerland, Great Britain, Singapore, Taiwan, Sweden, Japan, and Austria.
Keeping this in mind, here are some cell phone safety tips that might just prove to be lifesavers:
1. Never read or write text messages while driving.
2. Program frequently called numbers into your phone’s memory allowing you to keep dialing to a minimum.
3. If you must dial when the car is moving, hold the phone at eye level so you will have a clear view of the road.
4. Do not make emotional phone calls while driving.
5. Position your phone within easy reach.
6. Suspend calls in heavy traffic or in bad weather — you need to focus even more under hazardous conditions.
7. Keep conversations short. Inform the person you’re calling that you are in a car, and hang up as soon as possible.
8. If possible, place calls when you are not moving. Pull over where possible.
9. Ask a passenger to help. Have someone else make or take the call.
It’s still a lot better to err on the side of safety.

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