How to ignore your mobile phone when driving

Hand holding a smartphone beside a parked car.

Published 9 April 2021
Last updated 12 April 2021

Using your mobile phone when driving is dangerous and against the law. We look at why it's unsafe and provide tips on how to ignore it.

(Do not) phone a friend

Ping … Another message from Facebook has just popped through and you’re desperate to have a look at it. Will it be a mate ‘liking’ your latest post? Will it be a message from one of your besties inviting you to a party?

You really want to find out, but you’re driving, and picking up your mobile could lead to – well anything from a nasty brush with the law, to dealing with the consequences of a crash that you caused. Not good.

Do not think that peeking at your phone on the passenger seat is OK either. A split second is all it takes to change your world – and not in a good way.

No phoney business

With phones and in-car gadgets everywhere, distraction is a real problem for drivers. Most of us have changed the radio station and come through unscathed, so you may well wonder how dangerous all this tech really is. Well, the extent of your distraction depends on three things

  • the type of task
  • when the task is performed
  • how long the task takes to complete.

If it’s a short task – like changing the radio station – it’s usually just a matter of pressing a button. It does not place much demand on the brain. And, if you’ve got radio controls on your steering wheel, the job is that much easier.

Reading and answering a text on your mobile puts *a lot* more demand on your attention. You might need to

  • unlock the phone
  • read the message
  • think up something clever to say and then reply.

All of which will take your attention away from the road. By the time you look through the windscreen again, the world outside your car may have changed beyond recognition. And, by then, it might already be too late.

Staying mobile

The best way of dealing with the problem is to switch your phone off and tuck it away in the glove compartment. That way, you dodge the temptation to respond to every beep and whistle. After all, nothing is worth getting pulled over for – particularly when the penalties are so severe. Even worse, using your mobile might lead you to cause a serious incident that could have life-changing consequences. Do not do it!

Calling safe drivers

If you want to find out more about the science of distraction, then your chums at Safe Driving for Life can help. Pop over to our shop and pick up a copy of The Official DVSA Guide to Better Driving. It’s packed full of advice that will help you understand the ‘mental’ side of safe driving. We’ve also blogged on this very important topic before, so follow this link for more tip top advice and guidance.

Back to top