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Hands Free Laws Driving You Crazy?

Hands Free Laws Driving You Crazy?

Try these four tips to help navigate the new law.

So this post is not so much about hiking as it is whining. I’m a little off topic during my recuperation from an appendicitis attack, however I’m on the mend. While I was away from work, the great state of Tennessee enacted a Hands-Free driving law. You can click on the link to get the official low down. But for some practical, probably impractical and definitely not official but hopefully humorous tips on navigating this law, keep reading.

It just so happens that I am someone who is dependent on a cell phone AND my vehicle as necessary items for my workday. Navigating this Hands-Free business is proving to quite the challenge for me. I know there was a day, back in the day, when I was a “hands free” driver. I am from the Pepsi Generation. We came before cell phones. Way back then, I guess our hands were occupied with things like driving and I suppose, Pepsi’s??? But, nevertheless, I have become all to accustomed to the almighty cell phone. My dependency started back in the 90’s when the Sheriff bought me a new fangled Motorola bag phone. That thing took up most of the floorboard in my Honda Prelude. This monstrosity definitely took both hands to operate. There’d be no driving and talking on an ol’ bag phone.

When I first heard about hands-free driving, my first thought was “look Mom, no hands!” Those were famous last words if your mom was teaching you to drive and you thought you’d be funny. I also think of a few times when she was a great “hands free” driver. Some of my first memories are riding in the backseat of the 1970’s version of the mom car. It was a 1970 something station wagon fully decked out with wood paneling and those seats that fold up and down in the cargo space in the back. I can also see my younger siblings sitting in the backseat, facing the back of the car, maybe wearing a seat belt if it wasn’t stuffed down between the seats.

I can recall seeing all the hands free activities going on in the front seat. The seventies and eighties super moms were the experts at “hands-free”-meaning no hands at 10 and 2. My mom was no exception to that rule. (I am going to be grounded for this.) She could put on lip-liner, lipstick and maybe even a swipe of mascara all while swatting at those three little blond hooligans crawling back and forth over that beige Naugahyde bench seat. (It’s a good thing she had that one small angelic brunette who always sat so quietly. Wink wink). But now that I think about it, my mother was and still is a multilevel multi-tasker. She could talk on the phone, feed four kids, and run some polyester through a sewing machine and come out with a lime green leisure suit by Easter Sunday! Nowadays, she can organize a festival, make a run of homemade ice cream and crochet a baby blanket-all on the way to a football game.

Just goes to show you, moms have been driving hands free since, well pretty much forever.

Those menacing blonds!

We were pretty cute back in the day!

Ok, so driving with no hands is not what Tennessee means by Hands Free. Obviously, it means don’t be holding, dialing, texting, videoing or any doing any other distracting thing with your cell phone. Again if you’re interested in the official business of the new law, click on this link It’s a good thing. It really is.

Now, I was not a texting while driving person before the hands-free law, but I am a talker and listener by trade, so I do a lot of talking and listening on a cell phone in my car. Since I’m a mobile specialist, my car is my office for most of the time. Now, that I’m no longer legally allowed to hold my phone to talk or listen, dial numbers, etc. it takes a lot more effort than you think. It really didn’t take us long to get so dependent on cell phones.

Now keep in mind, I don’t have a fancy new car that will play my phone messages through a speaker, read them out loud to me, make calls for me or summons unicorns from rainbows, so I struggle to not be distracted by little pings, dings and rings that keep going off while I’m traveling. I have been thinking of and experimenting with some innovative ways to deal with this new law and make it work for me. I’m a rule follower by nature, so I must obey the law of the land. Below are four tips I am trying to use to be compliant with the new hands-free of today’s times. See what you think….

Use your phone more.

So that may sound counter-intuitive because I think the whole point is to put it down. I’m not talking about picking it up to use. But taking advantage of the voice command feature on your phone might help. So try to talk more to Siri. Get to know each other. Find out how he likes for you to talk to him. He seems a little sensitive so I’m learning to use the Hey Siri option. Which works out well for all of us in the South because “Hey” is our regular greeting on a daily basis. (Have you ever counted how many times you say Hey to people on a daily basis? If you do, it will be more than you think.) Since I have a pretty thick accent or drawl, as I like to think of it, this has become a real challenge for me. I don’t know if you know this or not, but Siri doesn’t speak rural Appalachian. So when I ask Siri a question or give Siri a voice command, I often get some bizarre response from left field. But I have noticed the more Siri, and I converse, the more he recognizes my words, tones and even gets my southern drawl at times. The more we converse, the more he gets me. Yes my Siri is a He-with an Australian accent. It’s much more pleasant to the ears. Just saying! 

All I said was Acer Aspire…

The downside to the Hey Siri method is he does still misunderstand words during a voice text and sends them as he sees fit. Since you can’t pick up your phone, you risk sending messages that make you sound like you’re possibly having a stroke while driving, which I’m sure is just as dangerous as talking on the phone and driving. I try to yell NO as loudly as possible when Siri says, “would you like to send?” Sometimes though, I like to go ahead and send those messages anyway, at least to my kids, so they can try to decipher what I mean. Those texts can be quite comical.

Get a Gadget

The Sheriff gifted me (by gifted I mean insisted) that I install this little Join Amazon Prime – Watch Thousands of Movies & TV Shows Anytime – Start Free Trial Now""” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Prime Videos loaded and some popcorn, I’d be set for the night. Anybody else anxiously awaiting season 4 of The Man in the High Castle?

Another issue with this contraption is the placement in the vent itself. I may or may not be one of those people who turn on the heat when the temperature drops below 70-don’t judge me…What I find is that if the heat is on and your phone is in that vent, then guess what happens??

Yep it’s already happened. iPhones won’t work when overheated. There is a very simple solution to this problem that everybody reading is probably screaming at right now. The Smartest Boy in the World pointed it out that I can simply turn off that one vent and still keep my heat on. See why I call him the Smartest Boy?

Clean Up Your Contacts

For the first frew years of their iPhone lives, my boys and I shared an iTunes account and a cloud. Add several years of teenage boy contacts to 20 plus years of medical, mental health and law enforcement resources and you end up with a lot of entries in your list. And being in the cloud together is all cozy and convenient until everybody’s contacts go to everybody’s phones. They are all grown up now. They’ve left my cloud now and moved onto their own clouds, but I am left with contacts for every teenage girl and their mama for a four county radius. (A conversation may be in order regarding the mamas-not sure what that’s about.) On the flip side, they’ve got all my contacts in their phones too because I know they haven’t cleaned up their contact list no more than they cleaned their room. Let’s just hope their girlfriends understand why they’ve got the jail on speed dial.

So with that many contacts and that many people in one cloud, you think that sounds comfy and cozy doesn’t it? But what you get is duplicate numbers for contacts like for Dad, Mom, Brother or Nanny. When “Brother” calls, I don’t know if its one of my sons or one of my own brothers. If I tell Siri “Call Dad” am I getting my own dad or my husband? This could lead to a few awkward moments answering calls. And don’t even try to tell Siri to initiate a call to one of these multiple contacts. He will pull up a whole lists of moms, dads, brothers, etc to go through and I can’t decipher that hands free. No way!

Another issue I have encountered with an overloaded contact list is if you have people who have last names for first names-we have three ourselves-Siri loads them all. For example, if you have a Jackson (also lots of Jacksons in the South), Siri is going to pull up everybody with first and last name Jackson for you to choose from. Well shoot Siri, I don’t know which Jackson you mean because I can’t pick up my phone and look at the screen. I usually just end up saying never mind and waiting it out.

So get in there and purge that contact list. Give people their own names back,unique nicknames or at least names Siri can understand.

Go Blue!

Get some sort of

It’s really hot here in TN right now.

Last but not least, just forget it.

I think this is really what we are going for, right Tennessee? Tennessee is tired of distracted driving accidents. Tennessee is tired of its residents being disconnected from the world around them. Tennessee is just worried about its people and wants what’s best in a day and age of technology, social media, constant streaming of entertainment, and immediate virtual contact with those around you. Tennessee wants you to have all those things, just not while driving. We get it Tennessee. Thanks for thinking of us!

In reality, we would all be safer and less insane if we just put that phone in a pocket, a purse or a backpack, get in the car, buckle up, put our hands at 10 and 2 (is that still a thing?) and mosey on up the road. We can always holler back to say hey when we arrive safely.

Hope this helps if you too are struggling with being hands free. Share some of your ideas on how you are currently coping with loosening your grip on your phone while driving.

If you are liking what you read, I’ll trade you-your email address for a FREE INSPIRATIONAL PRINTABLE. Just enter your email address in the bar or in that annoying red box that keeps popping up. I’d be happy to have you in my contact list. I promise I won’t call you, at least not on purpose.

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the whiny hiker

7 thoughts on “Hands Free Laws Driving You Crazy?

  1. There’s some great tips in here if you absolutely have to use your phone. Where I live in Ontario we’ve had hands free laws for years and the penalties are severe if broken. Way too many people have been killed while using cells while driving. Pulling over is the best option.

    1. This is such an important post. I wish that people were more aware of the effect that not paying attention while driving has on everyone.

  2. While I agree that using a phone while driving should be a strict no-no, I loved the hilarious approach to what you had to write, especially three blondes and a brunette in the backseat of the car. 🙂

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