PC Tip of the Month
The correct way to hold your steering wheel is with both hands on the wheel at 9 and 3 o'clock. The incorrect way is to hold your steering wheel with one hand, while holding your cellphone in the other.
On August 1, 2019, a new "handsfree" driving law goes into effect in my home state of Minnesota. It makes it illegal to hold your phone while driving. While it may be an inconvenience, I support the law because of the epidemic of distracted driving and the many accidents it has caused. I have also lost track of how many times I've behind someone at a stoplight and they don't go when the light turns green because they are looking at their phone.
That being said, I think most, if not all of us, have held our phones while driving at some point. So how can we go handsfree? Here are a few suggestions:
- Don't text and drive. As the commercials say, no text is worth an accident.
- Load your maps destination before you start driving. This may delay the start of your trip for a few seconds, but it is a good habit to develop. Especially because entering an address is often more difficult and more distracting than typing a regular text.
- Get a phone holder for your car. A dashboard mount for your phone can make it easy to glance at maps while you're driving while still keeping your eyes on the road. You don't have to pick up your phone or hold it the whole time you are driving.
- Use the Bluetooth capabilities of your car. If you have a newer car, you can pair your phone via Bluetooth to make and receive calls using the car's microphone and speakers. Alternatively, you can use a handsfree headset to make calls so you don't have to hold your phone.
- Don't app and drive. While texting and checking maps are the most common reasons for holding a phone while driving, they are not the only ones. Snapping a photo or video with Snapchat or Instagram, checking Facebook, or even checking the weather, stocks, or news are other distracting activities that can wait until you are out of a moving vehicle.
The term "handsfree driving" is a bit ironic since it frees up both hands to be on the steering wheel, where they should be. This keeps your focus on the road, which will help you drive more safely.
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