Using a mobile phone behind the wheel of a car causes you to take your eyes, hands and mind off the road. Even if this is only for a split second (and it rarely is) the consequences can be severe. A lot of people kid themselves that because they are so good at multi-tasking, there’s no harm in reading that text or taking that call.
If any of your focus is on your phone rather than the road ahead, your ability to spot and respond to hazards is compromised. Research revealed that that reaction times are 3 times longer when drivers are using a handheld mobile phone. They also concluded that people are 4 times more likely to crash if they use a mobile phone while driving.
If, while driving, you pick up or use any type of phone that must be held you will be breaking the law.
This means you should not use your mobile phone:
• when you are stopped at traffic lights
• when you are queuing in traffic
• to make or receive calls
• to send or receive picture and text messages
• to access the internet
You can only use your mobile phone in a vehicle:
• to call 999 or 112 in response to a genuine emergency where it is unsafe or impracticable to stop
• if you are safely parked
• if you are a passenger
Very often you read of motorists who got into some nasty preventable collisions because they just couldn’t help indulging in sending a text while driving. Doesn’t it make you wonder? Which is better? To arrive your destination safely or the alternative of ending up in some in some emergency ward somewhere? Must you send that text at that time?
Fewer things are more dangerous than texting and driving at the same time. The sheer thought of it should send cold shivers down anybody’s spine. That some people do it at all just goes to show how much of a chance we’re sometimes willing to take. Quite frankly, the two are simply not compatible
In the end though, texting, tweeting or speaking on the phone while driving are serious unsafe behaviours which we should all do our best to avoid. Remember, all it takes is a few seconds for things to change irretrievably forever. Whatever the situation, we must learn to take control of our impulses instead of letting the phone do the controlling. The defensive driver is the one who knows what is best in the interest of safety at any given time.
You can get 6 penalty points and a £200 fine if you use a hand-held phone when driving. You’ll also lose your licence if you passed your driving test in the last 2 years.
You can get 3 penalty points if you don’t have a full view of the road and traffic ahead or proper control of the vehicle.
You can also be taken to court where you can:
• be banned from driving or riding
• get a maximum fine of £1,000 (£2,500 if you’re driving a lorry or bus)