In a recent experiment, dinner party guests were asked to put their mobiles in a glass bowl in the middle of the table. They could see them and the phones would flash and ring as calls, messages and alerts came in, but touching them was forbidden.
After only a few minutes, many around the table began to suffer a very real stress reaction. Anxious and irritable, they were desperate to find out what was happening on their devices. As soon as they were allowed, they grabbed their handsets and spent the next few minutes in silence catching up.
So it is not surprising that many drivers suffer from the same syndrome. The device on the seat beside them rings, pings and flashes and even though they know it is illegal, they simply have to check it. And Hey! A quick reply to that text can't be so bad, can it?
Well Yes. Actually it can.
In heavy traffic on a motorway, running at about 55 to 60 mph, yesterday I watched a driver looking down repeatedly and intently at their phone. Each time they didn't look up for perhaps five full seconds. That may not sound like much, but at that speed a car covers 150 yards in five seconds. If the traffic ahead had slowed suddenly the first thing that that driver would have known was when they hit the car in front.
No wonder the police now routinely ask to see your mobile if you've had a crash. The history quickly tells them what the driver has been doing on it in the minutes leading up to the accident, and if they have suspicions they can confirm the data with the phone company.
We professional drivers see this all the time. We never understand why people in good cars that will definitely have hands-free installed are holding their phones to their ears, and we go cold when we see the many lap-gazing drivers.
Even using hands free is a bit distracting so we do little more than acknowledge a caller and promise to call back as soon as we stop. No, we are not "Holier than thou", we just want to live a bit longer and to make sure that our clients do too. So, if you're someone who lives by their phone please think carefully. Might it be a lot safer to leave it well out of reach until the driving is done?
Or call me, Tom at Harorogate Chauffeurs then you'll be able to text or whatever for the entire journey… safely, from the back seat.
William S. - Excellent service, friendly, on time, highly recommended
Eduardo D. - Very professional driver. Excellent conversation and overall service
Jerry L. - Wonderful service, thank you
Morris H. - Superb service, very courteous, friendly
Dr. Beate H. - Excellent, superb service. Felt like a real VIP, especially travelling as a business woman, safe and friendly
Carine Q. - Very high sense of service (water, wipes available). Safe drive behaviour, good interaction with people
Stephen Q. - Great trip, on time, very easy to work with - I had lots of changes, no problem
William B. - Tom is always punctual, professional, polite. He is my go to transport in Leeds for 2 years now