Look Ma... Handsfree!
If you’ve bought a cell phone in the last five years (and since most eight year olds now have them… you probably have) then you own one which is hands-free. This is not new technology. It’s about as cutting edge as butter.
And yet, there seems to be a widespread misunderstanding of this capability. Every day I see a handful of people with cell phones who somehow didn’t get the memo:
Hands-Free does not mean your hands are not needed for anything except holding your cell-phone. Instead, it means you do not have to hold your phone at all. To some of you reading this that will come as a shock. How do I know? Because I see you driving down the freeway, through neighborhoods, and on winding mountain roads while holding your “hands-free” phone to the side of your face.
The frightening thing about holding your phone is you’ve taken away half your ability to drive. It not only takes one hand off the steering wheel, but it also blocks all peripheral vision on one side.
How many one-eyed, one-armed professional drivers have you heard of? None. Why? Because being able to see all around you and handle the car are actually parts of driving. Yes, talking on a cell phone is distracting, but no more so than talking to a passenger. I’m not saying don’t talk on your phone, I’m saying don’t hold a pingpong paddle up to your cheek while you do it.
I once rode with a friend of mine who held a coffee mug in one hand, balanced his cell phone, and drove his manual transmission car at the same time. Needless to say I got to the end of that drive and wanted to kiss the dirtiest bit of concrete I could find.
Multi-tasking has become the way we all live our lives. I’m all for it. But let’s not add to the difficulty by voluntarily ignoring things which make it easier. Whatever phone you use… they make a headset for it. You can order one for your phone so you don’t have to delay another trip though the Starbucks drivethru.
Use one. And don’t do it because there are laws that require them. Do it so you can see the other ½ of the world.