January 14, 2010 – Over the past several weeks, many drivers have seen the advertisements and highway signs reminding them they can no longer use hand-held cellphones and other electronic devices while driving in B.C. As we approach the end of the one-month grace period, the Province, ICBC and police are reminding drivers to adopt smart driving behaviours.
Driving is a complex task that requires our full attention. When you are behind the wheel, anything that competes with your attention will impair your ability to notice what�s going on around you, increasing your risk of being in a crash.
The goal of the new law is to make our roads safer for everyone and we all play an important role in that. Here are some smart driving tips should your cellphone ring while you�re driving.
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 deviceexternal link 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.
Safe driving is about making smart driving decisions – driving is a complex task that demands all of our concentration if it is to be done safely. Be a role model and set an example – your smart decisions can have a significant influence on others.
For more smart driving tips, visit www.icbc.com.
The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia is a provincial Crown corporation established in 1973 to provide universal auto insurance to B.C. motorists. www.icbc.com.