How to Use a Cell Phone Safely when Driving

Doing anything that distracts you when driving is dangerous, whether it be eating, changing a CD, fiddling with the radio dials, or using a cell phone. Talking on your cellphone while driving makes you four times more likely to crash.[1] This fact means that in many jurisdictions around the world, it is illegal to use a cellphone in the car. This article discusses the means by which you can use a cellphone or mobile phone (hand-held phones) safely in the car.


  1. Image titled Use a Cell Phone Safely when Driving Step 1
    Use a bluetooth headset. Never directly answer the phone, handle it or fiddle with its dials. Dialing while using a hand-held phone and driving makes you 2.8 times more likely to crash.[1]Speak and listen only using the bluetooth. Use voice-activation rather than having to touch any buttons. Check that this equipment is legal in your jurisdiction.
    • The safest approach to doing this is to start the call before you set off driving. That way, you don't need to touch any controls to get the call started.
  2. Image titled Use a Cell Phone Safely when Driving Step 2
    Avoid answering the phone or using it at all while engaged in actual driving. Turn your phone off or set it to silent. That way, it cannot distract you at all and you won't feel compelled to answer it if it rings. Whatever it is, it can wait until you've stopped driving.
    • Never text while driving. Sending a text takes your eyes off the road for four to five seconds, on average.[1] This means that, if you were traveling at 90kmh, you'd travel the length of a rugby (football) field blindfolded.[1]
    • Consider using a text response service.
  3. Image titled Brake and Stop a Car in the Shortest Distance Step 2
    Pull over and stop in a safe location. If you really must answer or make a call, pull over safely to the side of the road and deal with your call while stationary.
    • Talking on a cellphone while driving decreases the driving concentration ability of your brain by over 37 percent.[1] Your reaction times slow down too, by fifty percent![1]
    • Put your phone out of reach. Put it somewhere that will force you to pull over and stop in order to deal with the call rather than continue driving.
  4. Image titled Use a Cell Phone Safely when Driving Step 4
    Ask a passenger to answer the phone and to relay the conversation to you and answer for you. Do not make young children do this, however, as this can be both even more distracting for you and an unfair burden on them.
    • A passenger can send texts on your behalf, if necessary. Ask the passenger to clarify with the recipient that they are the sender, to discourage more texting.
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    Finish calling or texting prior to getting into the car. If you really need to get through to someone, think ahead and deal with it before driving. Alternatively, talk or text on arrival at your destination.
    • It can also help to tell the person waiting for a call that you're about to drive and can't answer until the trip has ended.
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    Let people know that you don't answer or use the cellphone when driving. The more people are aware that you don't talk and drive or text and drive, tell them. The sooner they know, the sooner they'll accept that they can't expect you to be constantly available by phone and that it's okay to wait to hear from you. This will also help them to copy your example and feel okay that they don't have be available by phone when driving either.


  • Be honest about your driving skills. Most people think they can drive better than they actually can, hence it's a good idea to presume that you aren't as skilled at being able to concentrate on driving while being distracted by a phone.
  • Avoid in-car phone use during peak hour, when on busy roads or when you're tired, upset or frustrated. Put your energies toward full concentration on the road.
  • Try the multi-tasker game to see whether you can do two things at once:


  • Using a cell phone while driving can result in you seriously injuring or killing yourself or someone else. It isn't possible to devote your full attention to driving, the road, things happening around you and the phone buttons at the same time. Remember it's better to save your life then finding out what happened to your friends ex-boyfriend.
  • Driving and using a hand-held phone is illegal in many jurisdictions across the world.
  • Talking and driving is a form of multi-tasking. Human beings are not great at multi-tasking, so even just talking into the phone hands-free instead of concentrating on the road and driving can be distracting.[2]

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Categories: Defensive Driving Skills & Safety