British Columbia banned cellphone use while driving on January 1st and the 1-month “grace period” is about to expire. If you’re caught using your device you’ll be welcomed with a nice $167 fine (plus possible points of your record). The Province, ICBC and police are encouraging “drivers to adopt smart driving behaviours” and have put a list together that should be obeyed. Here are their tips:
– Let it go to voicemail. Better yet, turn it off to avoid the temptation. Be a role model and help create a culture where friends, family and colleagues don’t expect you to pick up right away. Let callers know on your voicemail that you may be driving and there may be delay before you return their call.
– Ask your passenger(s) for help. If you’re travelling with someone else and your cellphone rings, ask them to take the call for you.
– Pull over before you answer or return a call. Your life and the life of people around you are much more important than your phone call.
– Focus on the road. Multi-tasking while driving has become a common practice, but studies show that drivers who talk on a cellphone lose about 50 per cent of what’s going on around them, visually, and are four times more likely to get into a crash. Maintaining focus on the road should be a driver’s priority.
– Ask your caller if they’re on the road. If you’re returning a call, and you suspect your caller is driving, set an example and suggest talking when it’s safer to do so. We all have a responsibility to make our roads safer.
– Use a hands-free device if you need to take a call, and:
– Keep the conversations brief.
– Keep a consistently safe speed – research shows drivers on cellphones tend to vary their speed up and down.
– Make sure your device is securely fixed to your vehicle and doesn’t obstruct your view