How to use your phone while driving.

You are stuck in traffic, nothing has moved for ten minutes, you are sure it's probably an accident and you think you might as well ring your wife to tell her you'll be late.

You are at traffic lights, they have just turned red, you only missed the green by seconds and now you have to wait for 4 sets of changes before you can move again, you glance at your phone on the passenger seat and see you have a snapchat notification.

You are cruising at 70 on the M4 on the way to a conference, running a bit late you decide to text the organiser, after all, you have some automated 'I'm running late' texts programmed into the phone.

It's late and dark and you can't find your mate's house on a large housing estate, all the roads look the same, you give him a ring and clutching the phone twixt ear and shoulder you ask him to talk you through the route.

It doesn't matter why you think it's OK to use your phone while you are driving, it's not OK, it's dangerous and it's illegal. I've been in some of those situations, I've been tempted. And in the days before using your phone and driving was a specific offence I have used hands-free to get directions from a friend.

So I understand the temptation I really do. I know you think 'I'm not even moving, I could use it quickly!' I know you are thinking, 'glancing at a text message is no worse that tuning the radio, that message might be important'. I get it. But it's not OK, it's not OK because it's dangerous, and because it's dangerous, and because we are tempted, it's also illegal. Even being illegal hasn't been enough to stop some people playing Pokemon Go in traffic in the town centre (but Officer, there was a Pikachu!) so the penalties increased in March 2017

If you are caught using your mobile phone while in charge of a vehicle (which includes at traffic lights and in a traffic jam) you are liable to 6 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £200.  If the case goes to court there is a risk you will lose your licence entirely and be fined £1000.

Copyright: bignai / 123RF Stock Photo

So my top tip is simple, when you get into your car, if you have no passengers to answer your phone, or tweet, or catch Pokemon for you, switch off your phone, and put it in the boot. Job done. If you 'need' to use your phone for music via the bluetooth, switch off the data, and set calls to voicemail or silent, put the phone face down out of reach.

Don't be tempted. Be safe. Be legal.

Driving long distances should always include breaks for safety. So just make them mobile phone check breaks too.