Do Not Talk on a Cell Phone while Driving a Car

By: Paul Fitzgerald

There are several very good reasons not to talk on a cell phone and drive at the same time:The physical distraction of one hand holding and operating a cell phone cuts down your emergency reaction time and impairs your coordination.

The mental distraction of carrying on a conversation detracts from your ability to read danger signs and concentrate on road safety. Your ability to hear traffic signals and warning noises is impaired.

Your cell phone emits low-level electromagnetic radiation that is absorbed through your head and has been proved in scientific studies to affect brain activity, causing impaired concentration, disorientation and slower reaction time. Using a common headset only increases your exposure.

Using a car cell phone speaker system only enhances the electromagnetic field, as the cars steel frame acts as an extended antenna that in effect surrounds you in an electromagnetic field, thus enhancing the negative effect on both your brain and on the brains of other passengers in the car.

Cell phone in an enclosed area such as a car is especially hazardous to babies and small children whose skulls are not yet fully developed and whose brains are especially vulnerable to electromagnetic radiation.

Teach these rules to your teen drivers, and set a good example yourself. Having a cell phone available in case of a road emergency is a good idea, but don't answer your cell phone while you're driving (that's what the message answering feature is for!) and don't make calls until you are safely parked and out of your vehicle.

It's just good sense. It's not simply a matter of good car manners; it's a matter of survival. Don't endanger yourself or your passengers unnecessarily. Make your calls before you get into the car and agree on your meeting locations in advance. If you must make a call, pull over for a minute or two, park, and make your call. Then drive on safely, using your full skills and concentration.

Just as learning good driving habits early can save your life, learning good cell phone habits will protect your health and drastically cut down on the chance of causing an accident or becoming the victim of an accident.

In many cases the difference between a tragic accident and a near miss is your fast thinking or your split-second reaction time. Don't deprive yourself of that important edge. There's nothing cute or funny about hazardous driving. Don't wait for your state to enforce a law banning hand-held cell phones while driving (Five US states now have laws on the books and many other state lawmakers are currently debating the issue.) It shouldn't be a matter of the lawor paying the fine for being stopped. It's the much more important matter of your personal health and safety.

Get off to a good start by learning good cell phone habits when you first start to drive so you won't become a cartoon or the honored guest at your own funeral.

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