There is no sugar-coating the dangers of driving with your mobile phone in use. This article does not in anyway condone using your phone while behind the steering wheels. Naijauto is an advocate of safe driving.
Driving is one activity that requires maximum and uninterrupted concentration. Anything short of this puts the life of the driver and that of other road users at risk.
With the rising popularity of mobile phones came a rise in the number of road crashes. According to analysts, 23% of road crashes every year are caused by mobile phone distractions. Despite the many campaigns against using mobile phones while driving, a good number of people are still guilty of it. Infusing fear in people to desist from that behavior is obviously not working. It is about time we adopted other approaches: how to use phones safely while driving!
1. Types of distractions if using phone while driving
Let's start with major types of distractions if you use phone while driving. This helps you to understand why people should be discouraged from using their phone on car. These distractions include cognitive, visual and manual distractions.
1.1. Cognitive distraction
Cognitive distraction entails mental stimulation. Your attention is taken off the road and channeled to a mental activity. In the process of making a phone call, you forget about the physical driving activity at hand and get engrossed in your mental space.
Your mind is off the road as you look at your mobile phone
2. Visual distraction
Visual distraction is caused by the diversion of attention to visual activities. It is the process where you take your eyes off the road and focus on another object. As you try to read that message that just popped up on your phone, you take your eyes off the road and fix them on your phone. At that point, you cannot see vehicles or objects on your way.
3. Manual distraction
Manual distraction is the process where you take your hands off the steering wheel in a bid to do something else with them. You could be trying to get your phone to make a call or use the GPS for directions. This kind of distraction makes it difficult for you to avoid a collision on time.
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2. Less risky ways of using mobile phone while driving
As stated earlier, driving and being on your phone are like oil and water that do not mix. It is either you do one at a time or do not do any of them at all. But since you are going to do it regardless of what anyone says, it is necessary that you reduce the danger involved by adopting safe ways of using phone while driving to minimize the three types of distractions.
2.1. Use speed dial
Modern mobile phones come with effective features that many users do not make use of. You can carry out some activities on your phone without channeling a great deal of your attention to them.
One of these features in making phone calls while driving is the speed dial. You do not have to scroll through several numbers on your phone book just to pick out the number you want to dial. Having preset certain numbers on speed dial, all you have to do is press a single number to call the person. You can do this without taking your eyes off the road for long.
2.2. Use hands free
Your hands are meant to be fixated on the steering while you drive. Taking your hands off to use your phone affects you manual attention. With the hands free device, you can keep driving while you take that call, but do not prolong it. Tell the caller that you are driving, and that you will call them later. If it is an emergency, pull over to continue talking.
You can order a pair of Bluetooth earpieces for your safety
2.3. Ask a passenger to take the call
If you must take a call you consider important while driving, if you have company, simply ask the person to answer it. The same message that the caller wanted to pass across to you can still get to you through the other person. You get to do two things without endangering your life in the process.
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2.4. Do not have emotionally engaging conversations
Cognitive distraction is often caused by being emotionally attached to the call you are making. Resist the urge to argue with the person on the other end. If you sense that the conversation is getting you tense, politely excuse yourself. If you have just received disturbing news from the caller, pull over and calm your nerves before you continue driving.
2.5. Put your phone on silent mode
Even after making a decision not to make use of your phone, that notification sound can be hard to ignore. When your phone is ringing, it takes a great deal of self control not to answer it even while driving. To avoid this, simply put it on silent, so you do not get to hear any sound. You can return missed calls when you arrive at your destination.
2.6. Log out of social media
It is very tempting to keep up with activities on social media on the move. As fun as it might seem, it is not worth the trouble. Save yourself the temptation by logging out or closing social media pages before hitting the road. You can catch up with things when you get out of your car.
Basically, when you use phone while driving, you are distracted manually, visually and cognitively which may result in serious consequences in unexpected situations. Adopting aforementioned safer ways of using phone in car can greatly reduce the extent of distraction, thus ensuring your safety while driving on road.
>>> Stay safe and update handy driving tips by Naijauto experts!