of the 13 million wireless phones in Canada are used in motor vehicles.
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, which represents half of all calls placed
to 9-1-1 each year. When you're stuck in traffic, calling to say
you'll be late can reduce stress and make you less inclined to drive
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:
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 "10 and 2
o'clock" and keep them there while you drive.
Your Eyes on the Road.
Learn how to operate your phone without looking at it. Memorize
the location of all the controls, so you can press the buttons you
need without ever taking your eyes off the road.
If your phone is new, practise using it and the voice mail while
your car is stopped. Practice will make you feel more comfortable
- and safe - using it when you are on the road.
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.
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.
Program frequently called numbers and your local emergency number
into the speed dial feature of your phone for easy, one-touch dialing.
When available, use auto answer or voice-activated dialing.
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.
Let your voice mail pick up your calls in tricky driving situations.
It's easy to retrieve your messages later on.
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.
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
Take Notes While Driving.
If you need to take something down, use a tape recorder or pull
off the road. If you have an electronic scratch pad on your phone,
use it to record numbers while you are talking.
a Wireless Samaritan.
Wireless enables you to report crimes, life-threatening emergencies,
collisions or drunk drivers.
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.