In this day of advanced technology with all its benefits, we live in that world now of focusing on screens and tapping away on them. Our eyes and attention taken away from our surroundings, makes it easy to become distracted and oblivious of the environment we are in and how we subconsciously could be endangering our lives, loved ones and other persons in the vicinity. It is even more alarming when out and about, especially given the number of people wandering along the street entirely engaged in their handheld devices, such as mobile phones, and with their ears plugged in to music. On the streets, there are no rules literally or those rules are just broken ever so often. Your personal safety is very important out there, just like at home or work, and therefore you are entrusted to protect yourself, and likewise not endanger the safety of the public generally through your actions.
Mobile phones are ubiquitous to the point that nearly every adult, teen and even some kids have them. They are with us more than any person, including loved ones, or other things in our lives. Yes they are great as they keep us in touch with friends and family and can be lifesavers in an emergency. But are you staying aware of your surroundings or allowing yourself to be distracted when it comes to using yours? When out and about, are you vigilant of activities and dangers that are around you and therefore doing everything you can to not be distracted by your mobile phone, in order to ensure your personal safety? What steps are you taking to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of circumstance, should the unexpected occur? If something serious were to happen to you, your family could be left without their loved one. In turn, you need to take some personal responsibility for yourself and loved ones. You have to adapt to the environment and never be oblivious to it.
By taking a few necessary common sense safety precautions on mobile phone use when out and about, you can greatly reduce your risk of injury or harm:
- Nowadays is it not uncommon for us to us our mobiles not just for making calls and sending texts but also for diary management, social media, downloading music and films, banking and shopping, among other functionality. If you want to use any app function on your phone, get yourself to a safe place first. Be in control of your phone; do not let it control you.
- It is important that mobile phone users should always have their wits about them. Show a confident attitude, walk / run / drive carefully, keep your head up, and watch out for hazards. If you are busy looking at your phone, you are not paying attention to what is going on around you.
- When out and about, be streetwise and always be mindful of your surroundings. Avoid distractions like texting, talking or gaming on the phone, and use special care around heavy machinery and moving vehicles.
- Should there be the need to make or receive a call in public, find a safe place to make that call; otherwise keep your mobile phone out of public view.
- Resist the urge to multi-task while walking, running, biking or driving; wait to make phone calls, check your emails, play games, watch videos and listen to music at your destination.
- When wearing earpieces or headphones, keep the volume at a low level so you are still alert to your surroundings.
- Do not talk, text, play games, watch videos or perform any other function on your mobile when driving, biking or running. There is no chat, message, game, video or application function that is so important.
- Do not talk, text or play games on your phone when walking. If you are too preoccupied with your phone, you may not even notice that you suddenly stopped in the middle of the pavement, effectively blocking people who are trying to walk past you. Such sudden stop of distraction is also a recipe for disaster. You can get into an accident if your attention is somewhere else.
- Never use your phone while driving at the same time and always obey the law on this issue. Using your phone while driving can be fatal. The number of road accidents and deaths due to mobile phone use is a testament to this fact. It takes less than a split second for a lapse in concentration to result in an accident.
- With the phone-obsessed walking, running or biking into traffic at an alarming rate, all of your attention should be focused on the road when driving. Never drive distracted, distracted driving causes accidents.
- Make sure your kids and teens understand that mobile phones must never be a distraction. Using them impacts others and it is only decent to think about their surroundings when they chat, text, play games, watch videos or listen to music on it.
Overall, Safe Dimensions recommends no use of handheld device, such as mobile phone, whilst in motion. It is fitting that the safe practice (by law) applicable to use of handheld devices whilst driving should be likewise applicable whilst biking, running or walking, due to the fact of persons being in motion in the vicinity and probably not stationary in a safe place for their use. Everyone must play their part in ensuring their undivided attention when out and about, together with adhering to the law, and educating their loved ones on this subject matter, including their kids and teens. Make sure to use your mobile phone responsibly and with respects to others. Keep safe always.