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July - Cell Phone Road Rules
By Cynthia Kirkeby
Jun 27, 2004, 22:22 PST

Cell phone road rules

Cellphones - here, there, and everywhere

There are millions of cellphones in use today. Cell phones are effective tools if you use them in a safe way. A cellphone can save lives, but if basic rules aren’t followed for use in an automobile, it could also claim your life. It is best not to use them at all while you drive, but if you must talk, be sure to follow these basic road rules.

Know your phone
Know how to use your phone. Carefully read your instruction manual and learn how to take advantage of special features such as redial, automatic answer, and voice dialing. Also, memorize where your buttons are so that you can use speed dial and other features without taking your attention off the road.

Speakerphones and headsets
Some models allow the phone to be set to pick up after a certain number of rings. If you can, take advantage of this feature for driving. It means that you will never have to grope to answer the phone.

Use a speakerphone, or a headset. Never juggle a phone in your hands. You need both hands on the wheel.

Use directory assistance
Never grope for phone numbers while you’re driving. Either use directory assistance or pull over to check your palm pilot or that scrap of paper on your dashboard. If you need to manually dial a number, pull over. If you know that you’re going to need a number while you’re driving, preprogram it into your phone before you leave.

Don’t stay on the phone if you get upset
Strong emotions and driving don’t mix. When your emotions run high your brain gets distracted. Don’t take the chance of hitting another car or, God forbid, a pedestrian by having a fight or other emotionally charged phone calls while you’re driving. Pull over or wait until you’re at your destination.

Make a cell spot in your car
Choose one spot in your car where you always keep your cell phone. This will reduce the possibility of fumbling for it while you’re driving. Likewise, be sure that your headset or handsfree device is set up before you start driving.

If the driving gets rough, turn off the phone
If you're driving in hazardous conditions such as heavy traffic, icy or foggy conditions, heavy rain or any other hazardous condition, turn off the phone. You don’t need the added distraction of the phone ringing, when your attention is needed completely on the road.

If the driving gets rough, turn off the phone
If you see someone else that is distracted in another car from the use of a cell phone, don’t honk at them. That may startle them and become the final distraction that causes them to loose control. Steer clear of them. If they are weaving or posing a substantial hazard, contact the police.

Limit distractions
If you are on the cell phone while you’re driving, try to limit other distractions. Turn off the radio, ask your kids to be extra quiet, and pay extra attention to the road.

Source:, Insurance Research Council, ClassBrain

© Copyright 2004 by

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