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25 things every driver needs to know about mobile phones

Are you a keen mobile phone user? Wondering about the best and safest ways to use your mobile phone in the car? Then look no further. We’ve got a list of everything you need to know to make every journey one to remember.

For many phone owners, turning your device off completely and sticking it in your bag simply isn’t an option – particularly when they can be so useful. But of course, you’ll want to stay absolutely safe and legal on the road.

These little devices are so handy – you’ll be thankful for taking your pocket-sized wonder along for the ride and protecting it with mobile phone insurance. But whatever you do, never compromise on safety or allow yourself to become distracted.

Whether you can’t bear to be parted from your mobile or see them as an unfortunate necessity of modern life, take a look through our list before you travel. It might give you some invaluable food for thought and you won’t regret using it. It might even get you out of a tricky situation or two.

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Contents

  1. Using a phone at the wheel makes a crash four times more likely
  2. Hands-free doesn’t mean risk-free
  3. ANY use of a hand-held device while driving is now illegal
  4. You could lose your licence if you use a mobile phone when driving
  5. High-tech enforcement cameras are on their way
  6. Keeping within the speed limit doesn’t need to be hard work
  7. Get driving test help at the swipe of a button
  8. Your mobile phone can help you save on insurance
  9. Never get caught short again – download a toilet app today
  10. You don’t have to sit in long traffic jams – if you plan ahead
  11. In need of a parking space? There’s an app for that!
  12. Saving on fuel has never been easier
  13. Running low on charge doesn’t have to be a disaster
  14. Make it impossible to lose your car ever again
  15. How your phone can help you track your mileage
  16. If you want to keep children entertained then the mobile phone is your friend
  17. Stick to slower-paced music to improve your driving behaviour
  18. Use Apple Car Play to access your phone safely
  19. Car hire can be much quicker and easier with your mobile phone
  20. Silence your texts to stay focused on the road ahead
  21. Your mobile can help you keep ahead of the weather
  22. Expensive dash cams aren’t necessary with a mobile phone
  23. Theft from a car is still the number one vehicle crime
  24. Using hands-free headsets could be illegal in some countries
  25. Can’t speak the language? Your mobile phone can!

 

  1. Using a phone at the wheel makes a crash four times more likely

According to road safety charity Brake, using a mobile phone while behind the wheel makes you four times more likely to be involved in a crash resulting in injuries. Driving a car requires you to perform a series of complex tasks needing a high degree of concentration. Any mental distraction can leave you at greater risk of having an accident.

Indeed, researchers have found that after using your phone, it can take up to 30 seconds to regain your full attention. When you consider that a car driven at 30mph travels about three car lengths in just one second you could be driving a long distance without due care and attention. Aside from any mental distraction, anything taking a driver’s eyes off the road or hands off the wheel is potentially lethal.

  1. Hands-free doesn’t mean risk-free

The distraction caused by phone use can also apply when using a hands-free phone. Brake has also found drivers using hands-free phones still suffer from ‘inattention blindness’. This is where a driver might see a hazard but still not react to it in time.

While it isn’t an offence to use a hands-free phone while driving, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to do so. The risks are similar and the police are entitled to stop you if they think you’re not in full control of the vehicle. That can include the use of a hands-free phone.

  1. ANY use of a hand-held device while driving is now illegal

In a bid to cut down on distractions while driving and improve road safety, the government is strengthening existing laws to make it easier to prosecute drivers. It’s already illegal to use a hand-held phone while driving to text or make a phone call. But now drivers are also banned from using their phones to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games. This follows a public consultation which found that 81% of people supported such a move.

The Highway Code is also being tweaked to make it clearer that even if you’re stopped or queueing in traffic it’s still illegal to hold your phone. The only time you are permitted to use a hand-held phone is if you’re safely parked or if you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency, when it would be unsafe to stop.

  1. You could lose your licence if you use a mobile phone when driving

If you’re caught by police using your hand-held device while driving you could end up in hot water with a £200 fixed penalty notice and 6 points on your licence. If you’ve only recently passed your driving test you could even face losing your licence. After all, if you receive six points within the first two years, you are automatically disqualified.

  1. High-tech enforcement cameras are on their way

Ahead of the legal changes, new high-tech cameras to catch offenders are being trialled at an undisclosed location. Reports suggest that in just one six-month period, one camera spotted over 15,000 drivers with their phone in their hands. If the pilot trial proves successful, these cameras could be an important part of stamping out this danger on our roads.

  1. Keeping within speed limits doesn’t need to be hard work

Speed limits on UK roads can sometimes be confusing. And while they are undeniably important it’s easy to slip over the limit if you’re not careful. Speed limits can be changed on roads with almost no warning. For example, variable limits on Smart motorways, or reduced speeds when roadworks are in place.

When you're behind the wheel of an unfamiliar vehicle, or if you're towing a caravan or trailer, then the speed limit that's posted at the roadside won't necessarily apply. These limits could be difficult to work out, but they will definitely be lower than the maximum on road signs.

But don’t despair, your phone can help you keep track of which speed limit is the right one. Apps such as Radarbot (available on iOS and Android) can alert you when you exceed the speed limit and also any upcoming speed cameras. Allowing you to maintain a safe and legal speed throughout your journey.

  1. Get driving test help at the swipe of a button

To be able to drive on the UK roads you’ll need a driving licence. But with lengthy delays for those waiting for a driving test, it might be a while before you get behind the wheel on test day. While driving practice is a great way to get ready, it’s also a good idea to brush up on your theory even when you’re not driving. Download either the Driving Theory Test 4 in 1 Kit or Official DVSA Theory Test Kit to get in some invaluable online practice while waiting for a test slot to become available.

  1. Your mobile phone can help you save on insurance

There are many things affecting the cost of car insurance you can’t control, such as your age, years of driving experience and where you live. However, if you’re serious about saving on your car insurance then a so-called black box or telematics policy could be a great way to save. These policies require you to download a mobile app or install a small GPS-enabled device to monitor your driving.

By doing so you’re encouraged to drive safer and it also makes the car easier to trace if it’s stolen. Hopefully, the more careful you are over time, the lower your premium will be. If you’re using your phone for such an important job then you’ll also want your device covered by decent mobile phone insurance.

  1. Never get caught short again – download a toilet app today

When you’re driving for a long period of time and have had one too many cups of tea, it’s all too easy to find yourself in an uncomfortable situation. And when you need a toilet break you can soon get distracted from the road. Download the Flush Toilet Finder app (iOS and Android) and welcome relief will always be close at hand. Simply open the app and the nearest toilets will be shown. It's free, there’s no annoying in-app purchases, and it lists over 200,000 bathrooms worldwide!

  1. You don’t have to sit in long traffic jams – if you plan ahead

The mapping capabilities of the humble mobile phone are truly astounding. Apps such as Google Maps and Waze are not only excellent at finding the best route but also highlighting any problems along the way. They’re also great for answering that immortal question ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ But be aware, depending on your phone contract, using them throughout your journey may make a serious dent in your data allowance.

  1. In need of a parking space? There’s an app for that!

If you’re making a trip to somewhere new then it’s always wise to find out the parking options before you arrive. Services like Parkopedia and JustPark are designed to take the guesswork and frustration out of finding a space. Covering a range of different options there’s sure to be a spot just right for you.

And if you simply hate searching for small change when parking, then download either Parkmobile or PayByPhone to help you pay for a parking space without the need for cash.

  1. Saving on fuel has never been easier

As any modern driver knows, the price of fuel in the UK rises and falls almost on an hourly basis. This difficulty in finding the best price is made even worse when you’re looking to refuel in an unfamiliar location. There are a number of apps out there telling you where to find fuel at the best price. The PetrolPrices app is one of the leading providers of this service. If you choose to sign up for alerts then you’ll get notified of the cheapest fuel near you every week. Potentially helping you to save over £220 a year!

  1. Running low on charge doesn’t have to be a disaster

A common worry among electric or hybrid car owners is what happens when your car gets low on charge. Simply download the most accurate electric vehicle and Tesla charging station map from PlugShare and you’ll never need to worry again. However, just like having the right mobile phone insurance, you’ll want to make sure your phone is charged, too!

  1. Make it impossible to lose your car ever again

When you’re in a hurry and parking in an unfamiliar location you can easily lose track of where you parked. But that could be a thing of the past with apps such as Find My Car. This clever app logs the GPS of your vehicle and guides you back via a map and the quickest route. A simple way to relieve you of that dreaded parking panic.

  1. How your phone can help you track your mileage

Many people find themselves driving a lot of miles for work. While a few journeys a week seems easy to keep track of, over time it can become a struggle. Using your phone’s clock and GPS to automatically track each of your journeys, the MileIQ app will log start and stop times as well as total miles driven. Great if you need to keep track of your mileage for business use.

Driving mobile hands-free

  1. If you want to keep children entertained then the mobile phone is your friend

In cars up and down the country, parents are handing their mobile phones over to their children as we speak. With a child-friendly app or two on your phone you can look forward to a prolonged stretch of distraction-free driving.

As well as having mobile phone insurance to cover you for damage and loss it’s also important to know how to keep your kids safe on your mobile phone . For some further ideas on great child-friendly apps, take a look at these recommendations from Good Housekeeping.

If you do hand your phone over to a beloved family member, make sure your mobile phone insurance covers their use of the gadget, too!

  1. Stick to slower-paced music to improve your driving behaviour

Many drivers like to listen to music on the go. But listening to some types of music can be a distraction and can even affect your driving style. The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency has some invaluable tips on how to listen to music safely while you drive.

Spotify on your phone has a fantastic library of more than 30 million songs for both Android and iOS devices. Create a playlist of perfect driving tunes and keep your fingers off the shuffle buttons.

We all find it so hard to put down our phones, you might be tempted to continue listening to tunes even when you’ve finished driving. Just make sure you’ve got mobile phone insurance in place in case of accident or theft.

  1. Use Apple CarPlay to access your phone safely

Lauded as the ‘ultimate co-pilot’ by Apple, CarPlay lets you link your iPhone to your car’s touchscreen dashboard display. It’s a great idea to use your car’s large pop-up infotainment screens as an extension of your iPhone.

However, be aware road safety charity IAMRoadSmart recently conducted a study suggesting that using infotainment systems such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto still led to a significant increase in distracted drivers’ response times.

If you’re carrying desirable tech in your vehicle, make sure you have mobile insurance to match your car cover.

  1. Car hire can be much quicker and easier with your mobile phone

Sharing your driving record with a car hire company or employer is easy with a mobile phone. Go to the government site to find out how to get a driving licence check code or scannable QR code. The codes are only valid for 21 days and can only be used once.

  1. Silence your texts to stay focused on the road ahead

With the latest iOS 15 update, Apple has introduced Driving Focus to help drivers stay focused on the road. Turning the feature on silences or limits text messages and other notifications. You can even ask Siri to read text replies to you. Meanwhile incoming calls will only be allowed if using CarPlay, a Bluetooth system or hands-free kit.

For Android users Google Assistant Driving mode is also invaluable when driving. Using just your voice, you can read and send messages, make calls and control your media.

  1. Your mobile can help you keep ahead of the weather

Driving in heavy, lashing rain, strong winds, or snow is something many drivers want to avoid. So, download one of the best weather apps such as Met Office, AccuWeather or BBC Weather and you’ll receive timely weather alerts allowing you to change your plans accordingly. Unsure which one to choose? Don’t worry, all of them are highly reliable, offering long-range and largely accurate forecasts for the days and journeys ahead.

  1. Expensive dash cams aren’t necessary with a mobile phone

A must-have gadget for many regular drivers is a standalone dash cam. However, these can be expensive. But if you don’t want to be held responsible for the mistakes of other drivers on the road, then this is certainly something you’ll want to look into. However, a dash cam app offers a cheaper alternative to these costly devices.

Smart Dashcam (available on both iOS and Android) quickly and simply transforms your phone into a dash cam by using its camera to record your car journey. And in the event of an accident, footage can even be used as evidence in court. Who knows, having a dash cam may even lead to lower car insurance premiums! Just make sure your device is protected from accident or theft with mobile phone insurance.

Car Mobile

  1. Theft from a car is still the number one vehicle crime

According to the petrol heads over at Autocar magazine, in the league table of vehicle crime, theft is still number one. The advice? Always check your car is locked and always leave valuables out of sight. Simple but very effective advice. And if someone does break in, you’ll be pleased your mobile phone insurance policy covers against theft.

  1. Using hands-free headsets could be illegal in some countries

Driving while abroad is something many Brits do. But if you don’t want to be caught out then check the country’s laws before you go. For example, did you know that in France, authorities have banned the use of hands-free headsets and earphones for drivers taking calls or listening to music?

If you’re travelling abroad then make sure your mobile phone insurance covers you for your destination. You don’t want an accident, damage or theft to spoil your trip!

  1. Can’t speak the language? Your mobile phone can!

Is there anything these clever mobile phones can’t do? Using your phone as a handy language translator has to be one of the cleverest ideas we’ve come across. Or perhaps use one of these handy apps to learn the language yourself? Now you can speak the lingo, you’ll never get worried about asking for directions again!

So, there you have it: 25 things every driver needs to know about mobile phones. If you have any further suggestions then comment below and we’ll see if we can add them to the list.

Protect your treasured tech both inside and outside the car with mobile phone insurance from Gadget Cover. Get a quick quote today.

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