Safe Driving - It's Your Call

By the end of 2008, over 21 million wireless phones were used in motor vehicles in Canada. With a cell phone in the car you can call for help or report a dangerous situation; Canadians use wireless phones to call 9-1-1 over six million times annually.

If you drive with a cell phone, avoid unnecessary calls and always make the driving task your top priority. Here are a few basic safety tips from the Canada Safety Council:

Keep Your Hands on the Wheel.

Buckle your seat-belt and place all ten fingers on the steering wheel. Wrap them firmly around it, positioned at around “9 and 3 o’clock” and keep them there while you drive.

Use a Hands-Free Model.

A hands-free unit lets you keep both hands on the wheel while you talk on the phone. Attach the microphone to the visor just above your line of vision, so you can keep your eyes on the road. You can then talk on the phone as if you were talking to a passenger. This practice is not risk free, so keep your conversation to a minimum.

Stay in Your Lane.

Don’t get so wrapped up in a conversation that you drift into the other lane. Pull into the right-hand lane while talking, so you only have to worry about traffic to the left.

Use Voice or Speed Dialing.

Program frequently called numbers and your local emergency number into the speed dial feature of your phone for easy, voice dialing or one-touch dialing. When available, use auto answer or voice-activated dialing.

Never Dial While Driving.

If you must dial manually, do so only when stopped. Pull off the road, or better yet have a passenger dial for you.

Never Text Message While Driving.

Reading or texting while driving is extremely dangerous. If you must read or answer a text message, pull over safely and do your texting while off the road.

Take a Message.

Let your voice mail pick up your calls in tricky driving situations. It’s easy to retrieve your messages later on.

Know When to Stop Talking.

Keep conversations brief so you can concentrate on your driving. If a long discussion is required, if the topic is stressful or emotional, or if driving becomes hazardous, end your call and continue when you’re not in traffic.

Keep the Phone in its Holder.

Make sure your phone is securely in its holder when you are not using it. That way it won’t pop out and distract you when you are driving.

Don’t Take Notes While Driving.

If you need to write something down, pull off the road when safe to do so to finish your call.

Be a Wireless Samaritan.

Wireless enables you to report crimes, life-threatening emergencies, collisions or drunk drivers.

Drive Defensively.

Being in the right will not save you from a crash. You must be prepared for the unsafe actions of other motorists or for poor driving conditions.