It seems like we have new hands-free laws every year and that’s not far from the truth. Drivers are becoming less and less certain about when it is appropriate to use your phone, and when you should pull over. Of course, in an ideal situation, you would never need to use your phone behind the wheel. An even more ideal situation would be a world without car accidents, and no need for Cincinnati car accident attorneys, unfortunately, we can’t control everyone else’s driving behaviors.
But there are plenty of situations that call for emergency intervention from other drivers on the road. What should those drivers do when they see an emergency and need to contact help? There are instances where you can justify making a phone call while on the road, but there are many times where you should pull off the road before making that call.
Hands-Free – What it Means
In Ohio hands-free means exactly what it says, you cannot physically touch your device while driving. That means you should not be dialing phone numbers, scrolling through your contacts, or flipping through the music app on your phone.
Of course the hands-free law does address other distractions which don’t require your hands to physically touch the phone. For example, many drivers have taken to the highly risky behavior of streaming while driving. Could you imagine watching your favorite Netflix series while you’re traveling down the freeway? Tons of drivers do, and this type of distraction is extraordinarily dangerous but many drivers feel that it affects the hands-free law.
There are exceptions when it comes to the hands-free law, most notably calling for emergency services.
Calling for Emergency Services
Here’s the situation, you see a driver swerving in and out of his lane, and speeding up only to slow down again. These are the classic signs or tells of a drunk driver. You know that you should alert the authorities so they can intervene before there’s an accident. But do you have to get off the road to dial the number?
Ohio’s hands-free laws do allow for contacting emergency services and dialing 911 while on the road. If you’re calling for emergency services then focus on the emergency, rather than the hands-free element.
Calling for Help
Should you pull over to the side of the road before calling for help after a crash? The answer typically is yes. If your car cannot pull over to the side of the road then you don’t have much option in the matter, you need to contact emergency services right away.
However I do have a flat tire and simply need to call AAA then you can work your way over to the shoulder of the road to do that. If you run out of gas, or were in a minor fender bender, you can get off the road before calling for help. You don’t need to call your insurance company right away either. After a minor car accident, flat tire, or even running out of gas, try to get to the side of the road where it is safe and then call for help.
Taking Calls on the Road
Should you answer the phone on the road? Even if it’s hand’s free you should probably let it go to voicemail and return the call later. This is especially true for calls that will definitely take your mind off of driving.
Taking calls from work is often the biggest example. Should you take a call from work while you’re driving? Unless you can think of an emergency that would happen in your workplace where someone’s life could be in danger, it’s not worth risking yours and the safety of everyone else on the road to take the call.
However, calls where safety is a concern such as a call from the babysitter are pretty reasonable to take hands-free. You should still consider pulling off the road but only if you can pull off to a safe place like a parking lot.
Understand How Distracted Driving Impacted Your Crash with an Ohio Car Accident Attorney
It’s not only possible but highly likely that distracted driving played a role in your collision. You may not have been the one using your phone or distracted, but that doesn’t mean the other driver wasn’t doing so. Additionally, if you pulled off the road and immediately got your phone out to call emergency services, the other driver may claim that you were on the phone before the crash.
Distracted driving plays a substantial role in almost every crash claim now. It’s important that victims understand they don’t have to be pushed around or inappropriately assigned high percentages of fault. discuss your options with an Ohio car accident attorney