How and how not to use a phone while driving

| In Articles - Driving | 10th December 2020

Using a phone while driving is prohibited by law, but most drivers still use it and they can fall into the next categories.

The use of phone while driving is prohibited

Drivers that hold the phone to the ear

One of the most dangerous ways to drive is by holding a phone to the ear with one hand when the other hand is on the steering wheel and potentially changing gears when needed.
By doing that the driver has less control over the car having only one hand available for any actions related to driving. Also, the worst thing is that the driver's mind is busy to think of what the discussion over the phone is involving, making any important reactions to come delayed.

Non-compliance with the rule of not using the phone while driving can lead in this situation to serious incidents that can involve other traffic participants. In most cases, the driver will still have time to react to avoid the worst and rarely an incident will involve death.

Drivers that use social platforms (like Facebook) when driving

Using social platforms while driving is the most dangerous thing a driver can do because this activity can defocus completely from the road.
Even if a driver doing a live stream on Facebook thinks that he can handle it while driving, the truth is that in most cases this activity is ending badly by crashing into a different vehicle, building or people near the road.

This is happening when the driver is interested to check more than the phone screen as a whole and when, as example, is looking at how many viewers are watching the video. Having to read the little number of people watching the video will disconnect the driver from the road for a few crucial seconds taking away any chance to stop on time in a potential crash.

Most of the time this type of activity while driving is ending with people being killed. The driver, in comparison with the above category, does not have only the mind distracted by the phone but also the view, which is not on the road. This will delay any needed drive related action or make it not to happen.

Hands-free using of the phone

Is always advised to take calls while driving by using the hands-free option. If your car does not have a Bluetooth connection, is important to buy and install an after-market one if you use to talk on the phone while driving.
There are countries where this option is also prohibited and in case of an incident where this can be proved, the driver will support the consequences. Still, is hard to prove from outside the car that the driver is talking on the phone using that option.

The most cautious drivers

Very prudent drivers will prefer not to answers calls while driving or to be very short on calls.

How to prepare to do any other needed action while driving:

  • If you are approaching a curve of the road, wait for it to pass
  • If the traffic is very busy, try to avoid completely any other distractions
  • Do it sequentially, switching your eye from the device to the road as often as possible
  • Reduce the speed a little bit but not to much to cause problems to other trafic participants
  • Do not accelerate
  • If you are behind a truck, try to follow it at the same speed with the truck and a little bit further away than normal, paying maximum attention to the space in front of you. Rarely a car will go between you and a truck.
  • If the action you are about to do is very important for safety reasons, turn on hazard lights, reduce the speed more, move to the margin of the road and do what you have to do as fast as possible. This is still not legal but you avoid more danger by doing that. A good example for when you might need to do that is if you need to call emergencies for somebody inside the car or for somebody outside the car.

General advice on how to use a phone or other device while driving

Drivers from all this categories might need sometimes to adjust the GPS (on the phone or a specific device). This can be a short concise action which most of the time involves only the click of a button.
Though, sometimes a driver might need to add a new address on the GPS while driving. Stopping on the motorway or specific road types is most of the time not an option for such think and the need of taking the next exit and change the direction can be a must.

We do advise to do this action with maximum care if is not possible to stop in a safe place to do it. Is still prohibited to use any device while driving so pay attention to the road and any police car, because you can still get a fine only by doing essential changes.

Try not to take your eye from the road and type anything new by scanning the device screen first, approaching the finger to the right button and press without looking to the screen, which will take less time from being distracted from the road. Check again the key inserted by looking the second time.

If you are playing music from the phone try not to search for a specific melody while driving. This can take a substantial time and put you and other people in danger.
Prepare a playlist before you start moving and just go with it or switch to the radio if you prefer.

More than that, don't watch videos or play games while driving.

If you are driving next to a friend, ask him to do any changes you need, on the phone or GPS while you can carry on driving carefully.

Try not to drive with very loud music.
Very loud engaging music can sometimes make the driver believe he/she can have faster reactions than normal. A person can react better on some motivational music but driving is also involving other factors than the driver and its capabilities, like:

  • the road condition,
  • car capabilities,
  • brake distance on different speeds,
  • people or animals jumping in from of the car from nowhere,
  • foreign objects on the drive,
  • weather condition,
  • and many more

Going faster or not paying attention to the speed limit are most of the problems coming with very loud music. Is important to always be cautious of any sound coming from the car or outside it to be able to avoid any potential danger.

If you have kids in your car, try to follow the advice from this article.

If you find yourself in one of the above categories of drivers that use a phone while driving, try to follow our advice and think twice about what is more important between using a phone or any other device and your and other people's safety.