Cell Phone Driving: How to Pull It Off

Cell phone driving seems antithetical to the idea of taking a fun road trip. (Isn't the point of a vacation to get away from it all?)

But we realize that in everyday life, many people rely on their cell phones and have legitimate reasons for wanting to talk and drive. For example, it's amazing how many conference calls nowadays include at least one participant who's dialing in from their car.

Nevertheless, we've all shared the road with drivers who are veering, not maintaining a proper speed, and making careless lane changes because they're holding a phone to their ear as they drive. So, let's look at how you can take care of business without getting a ticket or causing an accident.

Is Cell Phone Driving Illegal?

The first thing you'll want to do is find out whether it's even legal to hold a cell phone to your ear while driving.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), eight states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington), as well as Washington D.C. and the Virgin Islands, had banned handheld cell phones during driving as of November 2010.

Many other states ban all cell phone use by novice drivers and school bus drivers.

Making Cell Phone Driving Safer

There are a few things you can do to avoid the legal and safety hazards of talking while driving:

  • Turn your phone off. Easier said than done, perhaps, but if you're not expecting any really important calls, consider simply turning your phone off – all the way off, so you can't see or hear incoming calls.

    Enjoy some "me" time in the car. Return any urgent messages at your next stop. Just knowing that you won't be getting any calls on your drive will put you in a much more relaxed state of mind.

  • Learn how to use speakerphone. Not every cell phone has a speakerphone feature, but if yours does, spend five minutes with your manual tonight. Practice putting calls on speaker.

    Gauge how well you can hear. Then, as you set out on your next drive, position your phone in such a way that you can answer incoming calls on speaker without veering out of your lane or rear-ending someone.

  • Get a good headset. There are lots of models out there. Find one that's comfortable and has good sound quality. And again, test before you drive.

    I recently ordered an earbud headset that will not stay in my ear no matter what I do. I'm glad I discovered this at home, because if I were struggling with that thing while driving, I might have crashed by now.

As you can see, it's not difficult to talk safely on your cell phone while driving without breaking the law. Use these tips to get the most out of your next car phone conversation.

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