Wireless Etiquette Can Save Your Life!
Wireless etiquette is no joke! It's not about simple
niceties; it's truly about personal safety, particularly when it comes
to driving. You
might be asking yourself what etiquette has to do with safety?
I'm not talking about speaking loudly
the phone in a quiet public place, or generally having inappropriate
conversations in inappropriate places; that's just plain rude!
I'm talking about using your wireless phone during
that increase the physical danger to yourself or those around you;
namely talking without a headset and texting while driving.
Most states in the U.S. have now mandated that people
must use a hands free device when talking on
the phone while driving. That makes a lot of sense to me, and
don't think most people these days resist this reality. I
personally started using a hands free device
years before it was law, not because I was concerned about
rather because I find it irritating to hold a
to my ear, particularly when trying to do things like driving!
Unlike those old household phones that were so enormous that holding
them between your ear and shoulder were relatively painless, today's
smartphones are simply too difficult, if not impossible to
hold due to their shape. It gives me a
headache to try to hold a phone to my ear while turning corners,
checking blind spots, etc. I'd rather have both hands free,
if I often end up with one arm on the arm rest. But
least that way, in an emergency, I have both hands fully free and
available for quick maneuvers. The idea of holding a phone
next to my ear seems ludicrous these days; I actually feel completely
put out when I don't have my bluetooth headset with me.
I'm actually astonished when I still see people driving with a phone to
their ear; it seems so old school, and wholly irresponsible!
argue that simply talking on the phone, even with a hands free
distracting and dangerous. My personal opinion is that
someone who's in the car next to me can be even more distracting,
because there's a tendency to want to look at them while conversing.
Although, arguably, they are a potential second set of eyes
the road to help avoid an accident, and can see the driving conditions,
and allow for the conversation to flow accordingly, unlike someone on
the phone. Admittedly, I'm not
give up the luxury, and efficient use of commuting time, of talking on
phone. That said, staying hands free is certainly critical in
my opinion, and I'm happy that it has now become law.
Texting & Driving
These days, even
more critical than talking while driving, is the topic of text
messaging while driving. Yes, when making a voice call you'll
phone to either find the saved contact or enter the phone number of the
person you're trying to call, or even find that voice recognition
button to make a voice call. You're typically talking about
very brief amount of time that can often be accomplished without even
looking, or quickly before leaving on your drive or while at a light.
And while that's even arguably dangerous, when it comes to
actually composing text messages, or commenting on Facebook while
driving, there have been many reported accidents that have
proven this is more than just bad wireless etiquette, but is extremely
dangerous, and outright negligent.
you're touch typing, using Swype, Swiftkey, or any type of keyboard
input method, typing while driving is absurdly dangerous. For
of us who took defensive driving courses, do you remember the constant
scanning of the road, checking your rear view mirror, noting escape
routes when boxed in on the highway, and other driving safety
techniques we were taught? The moment we
trying to type, even the most simple and quick notes, all of
that goes out the window! Some people will feverishly argue
they're pros, and they never get distracted, but
that's just not humanly possible. At the very least, it means
hand on the wheel with some degree of attention (and eyes!) taken off
of the road. Please, let's apply some of these basic wireless
etiquette safety practices. Without changing our habits, it's
only a matter of time before we hurt or kill someone, or someone we
love gets hurt or dies in a accident, because someone was texting while
driving! Personally, I worry most about my kids getting to
driving age, and how I'm going to teach them to not use their phone
while driving, and hope that they don't get injured by someone else
who's doing so.
holding your phone and texting while driving are becoming unlawful
what about drinking a coffee, eating, or putting on makeup (or both!)?
I'm always amazed when I see people putting on makeup while
driving. Forget about discussing how they can possibly be
the road while peering at themselves in the mirror, it makes me anxious
to know that the slightest jerk of the car and they could pierce their
eye out with the eye liner pencil or mascara brush; yikes!
on the topic of wireless etiquette, the general conclusion and advice
is to not talk without a hands free device or text while in a situation
where your attention should be on something else, whether it's driving
a car, bus, flying a plane, cycling, etc. Better to get to
you're going in one piece. I'm sure the person on the other
end of the
conversation or message will appreciate having you around.
Lastly, we need our friends, family, bosses, and co-workers to change
their expectations around response time. We feel so obligated
to always be available, that it can sometimes be hard to delay
responding. The reality is that if something is urgent, they
should call; otherwise, people shouldn't get anxious or upset if we
don't respond to their text messages until we're done driving.
Even at lights, we shouldn't be distracted trying to respond
to messages. In otherwise, a fundamental shift in EVERYONE's
general attitude and mindset around communication needs to change!