Cell phones have, without a doubt, made our lives easier and more convenient. Besides making phone calls and texting, we use them to pay bills, book airline tickets, run our businesses and get the latest news. But with this much power in our hands, it’s easy to become distracted at the wrong times.
According to the National Safety Council, “distractions are a top factor in fatal car crashes.” Despite knowing the importance of keeping their eyes on the road, many drivers can’t resist the urge to reach for their phones while driving or send a text message.
Ideally, we should avoid phone conversations while driving. The less multitasking we do behind the wheel, the better. But sometimes, a call can’t wait.
If you must take a phone call while driving, here are a few tips for staying hands-free and safe.
1. Use your phone’s voice command.
If you think back 10 or 11 years, you likely never imagined having so much control in the palm of your hand. Cell phones have evolved into little computers, offering more and more features with each update. Luckily, many models now allow users to control the phone with their voice.
Whether your phone is in your hand or across the room, a simple voice command can prompt your phone to read your text messages, create emails, set reminders and even respond to messages—essentially managing your life hands-free. Voice command is a handy tool when you’re unable to pull over, but need to urgently respond to a message or make a call.
2. Pair your phone with your car’s Bluetooth.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a car with Bluetooth technology, take advantage of this feature and pair your cell phone with your car’s Bluetooth. By doing so, you can initiate and receive phone calls through your car’s speaker with the touch of a button or a voice command.
Pairing your phone only takes a couple of minutes. Regardless of the location of your phone within the car, you’re able to answer and make calls whenever you’re connected to Bluetooth.
3. Get a Bluetooth headset.
If your car doesn’t have Bluetooth capabilities, a Bluetooth headset is an inexpensive alternative. You can purchase these from any electronics department at a local retail store or from any cell phone shop. Simply pair your phone with your Bluetooth earpiece or headphone. Once your phone connects, tap the Bluetooth to answer calls. Utilizing this technology lets you keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
Hands-Free Doesn’t Mean Risk-Free
Although hands-free driving can reduce the likelihood of a crash, being hands-free doesn’t mean you’re risk-free. Even if you’re not holding a phone or typing a text message while driving, you’re still multitasking, which is a distraction in itself. This is because your brain is attempting to focus on two things at once. With that being said, how do you keep yourself safe?
As a rule of thumb, don’t get into lengthy conversations while driving. If you have to use voice command or Bluetooth while driving, keep the conversation and messages brief, and don’t get into long discussions or heated arguments. Even if you manage to keep your eyes on the road, you’re still not giving it your full attention, thus increasing the risk of driver error.
A car is extremely useful, but it can be a dangerous piece of machinery under the wrong circumstances. Even the slightest distraction puts you at risk of a crash. Hands-free is no doubt better than attempting to dial a number or texting while operating a vehicle. Even so, the safest approach is to keep your eyes focused on the road, and avoid multitasking whenever possible.