We all love our tech toys. Some of us never turn them off. They have become our portal to the greater world. Whoever coined the phrase “news travels fast” probably had no idea exactly how fast that would become.

A few years ago the telecommunications industry came out with a series of suggestions for mobile phone etiquette. Unfortunately we sometimes forget about others around us. This includes when we are in the car or crossing the road. With increasing traffic and so many things vying for our attention out on the road, we need to remember when its time to focus on the here and now and to put our toys aside.

Crossing the road whilst texting, listening to music or making a call on your mobile phone

Today communications is instantaneous. Something happens to you in Melbourne, and immediately your global friends can read about it on Facebook. You walk past a shop and receive a message that those shoes you were waiting for have arrived. You just heard a song on the radio and downloaded it to your phone – and can’t wait to listen to it as you set off on your walk – DJ-style headphones on blocking out all other noise. These are everyday occurrences.

Remember the advertising slogan for road safety : “Stop, look and listen”? When you have your headphones on, and are sending/reading a text message, you don’t or are not able to follow the “Stop, look and listen” three steps for survival.

Looking at a text message whilst driving

The temptation is always there – a message comes in – you glance at it – and take your eyes off the road for that split second. That could be the difference between getting home safely or not getting home at all.

Not having your mobile phone secured whilst driving

It’s now the law in most, if not all, parts of the country. Using your phone as a phone or GPS when it is not secured in your vehicle will end up costing you money and points. (You can use the music functions on your phone – but why risk it?). Windscreen mounted holders for your phone are readily available – either specific for your model or through third parties. Some have Bluetooth built in so you can safely talk on the phone. Many cars built today have Bluetooth as standard – so your phone does not need to come out of your pocket or bag whilst you are driving. Voice commands can place the call for you – so you can remain both safe and within the law.

Not stopping your friends or kids doing any or all of the above

Don’t be afraid to politely point out to a friend – or even to a total stranger for that matter – that what they are doing (be it crossing the road deep in their tech world, holding and talking on their phone whilst driving, texting, etc) is both dangerous to them and potentially to you. And remember – if you do any of these things – your kids might take the view that if mum / dad can do it, it must be ok.

School holidays are just around the corner. Many more children will be using the streets. Let’s all try and make the upcoming holiday period and beyond a safe one.