August - Cell Phone Safety Tips
Cell Phone Safety Tips
It has only been a few years that the use of a cell phone was in many circles considered a luxury, and not really practical for the masses. Hasn't that all changed drastically! Since the introduction of cell phones in 1983, the number has grown to more than 86 million. The cell phone can be an invaluable tool, yet mixed with an automobile, both can become a deadly combination.
A study in 1997 by the New England Journal of Medicine states that drivers using cell phones are four times more likely to have an accident. Surprisingly, these statistics do not improve with hands-free setups. Following are some tips that can prove useful while using cell phones:
- Get to know your cell phone and all its features, especially the speed dial and redial features. As you get familiar with the features, you decrease your chances of an accident.
- When available, use a hands-free setup. There are many hands-free accessories available today. We should take advantage of their use, when possible.
- Position your phone within easy reach. Try to position it so that you can pick it up without taking your eyes off the road. If traffic or other situations jeopardizes your safety, let the voice mail answer for you.
- Suspend conversations during hazardous driving conditions or situations. If you receive a call during hazardous driving conditions, let the caller know and ask to return their call at a safer opportunity, since your primary responsibility is to pay attention to the road.
- Do not take notes or look up numbers while driving. Either of these situations will divert your attention from the business of driving and will jeopardize the safety of all involved.
- Dial sensibly and assess the traffic. If possible, place calls when you are not moving or before pulling into traffic. It is better to try to plan your calls in advance of the exit time of your trip. If this is not always possible, at least try to do your dialing at traffic lights, stop signs, or other stationary times.
- Do not engage in stressful or emotional conversations that may be distracting. Stressful or emotional conversations do not mix with driving. It is good to try suspending these types of dialogue until the driving is finished for that period.
- Use your cell phone to call for help. A cell phone is a great protectionist tool for you and your family in emergency situations. All you have to do is dial 9-1-1 or another emergency number and the calls are free.
- Use your cell phone to help others in emergencies.
Your cell phone gives you the potential to be a "Good Samaritan" if you come upon a situation that warrants it. It could be a fire, auto accident, or a crime in progress. If you come upon one of these types or any type of emergency, dial 9-1-1 or another local emergency number for help.
Call roadside assistance or a special cell non-emergency assistance number when necessary. While driving, you may come upon a situation that is not a real urgent emergency, but someone may still need assistance. If you should see a minor traffic accident with no one hurt or a vehicle breakdown on the side of a highway, you could call roadside assistance or another non-emergency number. The parties with the problem would surely be appreciative, and at the same time you are doing a good human deed.
Excerpts: Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association
Ted Gordon is the Risk Management/Loss Control Manager for the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. His office is located in the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, in Verona, MS. His telephone number is 662-566-2201.