You aren’t supposed to use your hand-held cell phone while you are driving.
I know that you already know this. I also know that you still occasionally do it -- just like I do.
In Illinois, drivers are required to be “hand-free.” But here is the thing – it is really tough to be truly “hands-free” when it comes to using a cell phone in the car.
Here is what I have been doing for the past few years. When my phone rings, I answer and quickly ask the caller to hold on for a minute. Then I fumble around for my crappy pair of earphones, plug the earphones in, ask the caller, “Can you hear me?” and then begin the conversation.
This daily practice is so dangerous and distracting. Frankly, it is more dangerous than just holding my phone to my ear and talking into it.
I recently learned that I have been doing my “hands-free” driving all wrong. A few weeks ago, I attended a luncheon hosted by Jabra, a Danish company that makes Bluetooth devices. I eagerly accepted the invitation because I had very little understanding of Bluetooth technology and thought that maybe I would learn more about how expensive and complicated it would be to have it installed in my 2003 (obviously, pre-Bluetooth) car.
Instead, what I basically learned it that anyone can have Bluetooth technology in her car for about $60. You don’t have to have a system installed. You just buy a very small device, clip it to your visor, turn in on, pair it with your phone and you are set to go. With the Jabra Bluetooth devices, you can literally make, answer, conduct and end phone calls truly hand-free in your vehicle. When I lost the set of earphones that I had been using a few months ago, I paid about $30 to replace them. If only I had know then that for only $30 more, I could have a safer solution, I most certainly would have gone that route.
The other revelation from this luncheon (thanks again to Jabra for that invite) was that this technology can be used in all sorts of other cool ways. Jabra offers Bluetooth devices that, once paired with your phone, can basically act as speakers. So that means you can listen to Pandora or an NPR podcast in your car. I could even clip the Bluetooth device to my son’s stroller and keep my phone is my pocket and he could listen to some tunes as we stroll.
How cool is that? I had no idea that this technology was so affordable and accessible to everyone.
The bottom line is that I am feeling so much better about talking on my phone while driving. If I had known about this earlier, I certainly would have purchased a Bluetooth device myself. I wanted to share this info with you so that those of you out there who are as confused as I was about Bluetooth would know that you could make driving around with your kiddos significantly safer for about $60. Totally worth it.
Disclosure: Jabra provided me with several different models of their Bluetooth devices. I kept one and gave the others to my sisters so now we can all gab hands-free together in our cars. It is awesome!
Filed under: blogging