Mobile devices and physical safety
The number of accidents related to driving while talking, surfing, and texting on mobile devices is increasing significantly. So why do the majority of us continue to participate in these activities, despite the overwhelming evidence of their dangers? Consider the following:
We believe we can multi-task.The brain is capable of engaging in more than one activity at a time if one of the activities is passive, or non-interactive, like driving and listening to music. However, our brains cannot participate in two interactive behaviors that require thinking and responding at the same time, like driving and dialing a phone number. One activity is always being ignored for the other, thus exposing us to danger.We believe we are better drivers than others.We may get upset with others for driving recklessly while talking on their cell phones, but we believe we are better drivers and can pull it off. In reality, we are not driving well either, but “inattention blindness” prevents us from noticing.We believe we have to respond.In today’s world of instant access, we believe we have to be constantly available; therefore, ignoring a phone call or text message may seem unheard of. Also, some of us get a little “rush of excitement” when we hear that ring or bing telling us we are wanted. Unfortunately, these emotional desires seem to overrule the reasonable side of our brain that cautions us to be safe.
Driving safely with mobile devices
The best way to stay safe is to avoid using a mobile device at all while driving. Some states are even starting to consider or pass laws regarding mobile use while driving, especially for teen drivers. Visit your state’s Department of Transportation website to check on the latest laws. If you must use a mobile device while driving, follow these safety tips.
Do not dial while driving. Dial before you pull out into traffic or while you are stopped at a light or stop sign. Also, do not try to take notes or look up phone numbers while driving.If you must answer a call while driving, make sure your phone is within arms reach. Otherwise, safely pull over or let the call go to voice mail.Use a hands-free device that will allow you to keep both hands on the wheel. Be sure to set the device up before your trip or when stopped, never while driving. (Note: Some studies show that using hands-free devices do not improve safety while driving).Get off the phone when driving in hazardous conditions. Heavy traffic, bad weather, difficult merges, or even unfamiliar routes can be especially dangerous while using a mobile device. Hang up and focus on your driving in these conditions.Emotional or stressful conversations can be extra distracting while driving. If you start getting upset, pull over or suspend the conversation.You should never text, browse the web, or watch videos while driving. It is too dangerous. If you use GPS navigation, program your trip before pulling into traffic, and pull over if you need to re-program your route. While driving, keep your eyes on the road and rely on the GPS voice for directions.No matter how scenic or fascinating a view is, you should never attempt to take a photo or video with your mobile device while driving. It’s too disorienting. If it is safe, pull over. If it is not, let it go.
Cell phone radiation and cancer
Interest and debate regarding cell phones and their link to cancer, particularly brain cancer, is on the rise due to increasing research. Cell phones, as well as other wireless devices, emit low-frequency “non-thermal” radiation that is considered the cause of the cancer. At this time, the World Health Organization, American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, and Food and Drug Administration have all found that the use of cell phones do not pose a public health risk. However, they do support continued research on the subject, especially in regard to long-term exposure.
If you are concerned about radiation, there are a few things you can do to limit your exposure, including using a headset or speaker while on your phone and using a low-radiation cell phone. For more information, you can go to the websites below:
Cell Phone Radiation and Brain Cancer Debate Continues (from MobileBeyond)Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) For Cell Phones: What It Means For You (from FCC.gov)How risky is cell-phone radiation? (from Consumer Reports)