Have one more for the road

A call, that is.

In California, driving while talking on a mobile phone (without hands free) is illegal. Hurrah! I wish they would have legislated against driving while talking on a mobile phone even with hands free.

It’s not so much that one hand used to hold a receiver is the issue, its the distracting conversation that we engage in that makes us terrible drivers. According to a University of Utah study, cell phone talking drivers are no better than drunk drivers at operating a car. The researcher’s recommendation? Don’t drive and talk at the same time.

I came to this realization a few years ago, and now unless it is a very urgent situation, I don’t talk on the phone while I drive. I make all my calls before I leave home/office, etc. One practice I’ve been doing is to think about a call I might need to make in the time window of an upcoming drive, and make that call before I get into the car. I call it “one more for the road”.

Honestly, most of our in-transit calls are low quality, irrelevant and silly. We make those calls because we can, and we love to multi-task. The reality is that we don’t need to use the phone while we drive; anymore than we need to read the paper, knit or do crossword puzzles.

Show me a bad driver, and I’ll show you (more often than not), a driver trying to talk on the phone and drive at the same time. I think it is a violation of our social responsibility to operate a potentially lethal machine (a car) while techno-drunk. Yeah, really. Do you think it’s moral to have two or three or four beers, then get in your car and drive on the freeway?

It will be hard at first, since you’ve trained yourself to be a go-go multi-tasker. Soon enough, you’ll be weaned away from celling-and-driving — and you’ll be a better person for it too. Besides, you should always give good phone!