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You know that old adage about what happens when you assume?  It is proven true, time and time again.

In Pennsylvania, there is a big push for legislation to ban texting and talking on cell phones while driving.  And statistics seem to support that an increasing number of car accidents can be attributed to cell phone use, particularly among teen drivers.  Now, I am all for keeping the roadways safe, I mean, who isn’t?  But, I caution you, if you see a driver with phone in hand, do not assume they are texting, surfing the internet, or talking on a speaker phone.

With the increasing number of smart phones, and the types of applications they offer, phones can actually be pretty useful while driving, and can be used in ways that do not interfere with the act of driving itself.  For example, I own a Palm, and my phone provider has a navigation application, which is essentially built in GPS on my phone.  So, just like some people use a Tom Tom, I use my phone to navigate from place to place.  However, in order to deal with lots of turns, particularly in an unfamiliar part of the city, I hold the phone in my hand, to hear the voice commands clearly, and reference the map when stopped.  Similarly, my husband has a Droid, with the Google maps application.  His even has a voice function, so no typing is even needed.  We basically say “Consol Energy Center” or where ever we are headed, once the application is launched, and it tells us the directions, with voice commands and an on screen map.   So, as you can see, these are very helpful features on a phone, and legitimate reasons to have the phone on while driving.

The reason I bring this up is because last night, I was navigating through Pittsburgh, in a part of town I had not been in for some time, coming from a unfamiliar direction.  I turned on my phone’s navigational application, and held it in my hand as the warm, soothing female voice spouted turn by turn directions.  Suddenly, a man driving a truck for a national package delivery service pulled up next to me, and started flailing his arms and making rude gestures about how I needed to” hang up my phone”.  His behavior was more distracting and dangerous than any text messaging while driving, and the point was, I was not using my phone to call or text.  I was using it to navigate.  I was so incensed that once I reached my destination and parked my car, I called customer service for that delivery company and reported the incident.  I am skeptical that anything will be done about it, but the moral of the story is, do not assume a phone in the hand equals a call, text, tweet, or facebook update.

Author: Tiffany Harkleroad

Tiffany is a blogger who lives in the greater Pittsburgh area. Currently, she blogs about life in her small town near Pittsburgh, as well as reviews books, and occasionally tells amusing stories about her life with pets. She is addicted to social media, and learning to embrace her inner IT geek.