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Responsible driving: airplane mode, also in the car

Responsible driving: airplane mode, also in the car

There are many aspects of this digital society in which we tend to blame devices, environments, applications, networks or games for everything bad that happens. Harassment, online hatred, addictions, posture, distraction, distortion, dependency, immediacy or constant availability, damage to physical or emotional health… To tackle the different problems, we look to the legislation or to technology companies to ask greater social engagementgreater ethics in the design or in the regulation of the technology we use.

However, there is a section in which, as much as we want, we cannot delegate our responsibility regarding our use of that technology. We cannot allude to the algorithm, nor to the influencers. We can not mention the Silicon Valley gurus, nor the haters. The final decision is up to us.

Car. Vehicle, sedan, minivan, van, truck, car. When we drive, using the mobile is dangerous. Spot. And finally. Making safe and responsible use of the smartphone in the car depends on us and the rest of the drivers. It is up to each of us to carry out responsible driving. ‘Safe and responsible’ probably consists of not using the mobile and not thinking that ‘for a minute, nothing happens’.

Yes it happens. yes it can happen.

Distractions behind the wheel, with the improper use of smartphones at the forefront, are responsible for about 30% of traffic accidents serious. We all know that a mobile phone and a steering wheel are not a good couple, and yet 8 out of 10 Spaniards admit to using a mobile phone while driving.

Responsible driving at the wheel can reduce the risk of an accident at the wheel

Entities responsible for road safety around the world have been raising awareness about this issue for years. The General Directorate of Traffic invites us, in fact, to “not look down”. They tell us that the use of mobile phones while driving involves three forms of distraction: visual, cognitive and manual, clearly reducing our abilities as drivers. The time needed to react to any unforeseen event on the road increases and it becomes more difficult to carry out basic actions such as maintaining a constant speed or respecting the safety distance.

The use of the mobile phone while driving multiplies by four the risk of suffering a mishap, a danger that is even greater when it comes to actions that involve the manual use of the device and that therefore force us to take our eyes off the road . Answering a call without having the hands free activated is a regular idea, but less than 40% of drivers use that hands free. Picking up the phone to send or read a message is a terrible idea, but more than 80% of the time we use the phone in the car it is for the latter type of use.

Almost half of drivers between the ages of 18 and 29 break the rules regarding the use of mobile phones, and the majority do so using applications. As age increases, the percentage decreases and is the population over 60 years of age is the most responsible or the least accustomed to doing everything and at all times with a smartphone in hand . In the case of families, half of the fathers and mothers use the mobile phone at the wheel with their children in the car and, in terms of gender, women use the mobile phone less in the car, but when they do, they infringe more frequently traffic regulations.

In Spain, the first regulation that prohibited the use of mobile phones while driving occurred in 2002. And the latest update of the Traffic and Road Safety Law, from this same year, includes among its most outstanding contents the tougher sanctions for the use of mobile phones at the wheel: driving using mobile phone devices can lead to a fine of 200 euros and the loss of between 3 and 6 points, with manual use of the device being the greatest aggravating circumstance. 20 years have passed and yet smartphones are behind many fines and, unfortunately, many accidents. I correct: “the smartphones are behind” or “the decisions of the drivers are responsible for”?

In general, the biggest culprits in car accidents are distractions. And they can be of many types: we get distracted by the other occupants of the car, our worries or our stress, when we see an accident or when we drive any of the elements of the vehicle itself. So it’s not just about mobile. But with the mobile we can make the express and intentional decision to silence, store or turn off the device, to postpone calls or consultations.

With a new long weekend in Madrid just around the corner, with summer approaching and with the undoubted desire that we all have for normalcy, travel, enjoying time with friends and family, it is worth forgetting your mobile during the journey.

It’s up to you.

Some recommendations As far as possible, use ‘airplane mode’, also in the car. If we can’t, configure at least ‘hands free’ for calls or use the virtual assistant of the smartphone if it has one to make or answer those calls.Silence warnings and messages.Avoid chats and consulting apps on the device , even when we are facing a red light. If we need to consult something urgently, stop. If we call someone and they tell us or notice that they are driving, postpone the call.