Yesterday I was driving up Fairfax, from Beverly toward Sunset. Stopped at a light, I was startled when a bicyclist came weaving around the car in front of me.
The helmeted driver peered through my passenger window. Then he darted off toward the car behind me, where the woman driver had her hand up to her ear.
It took a few seconds before I realized he wasn’t a panhandler, but a cop — checking to make sure we drivers were not wielding cell-phones. Had the driver behind me been yacking, rather than scratching, she would be $159 poorer right now.
So, for all of you drivers who use a cell phone, GPS, or any other distraction while driving, here are a few more thoughts on why it’s a little safer to hold onto the steering wheel while driving, taken from an article released in 2008 when the hands-free law first came into effect in California.
Hypnotherapist Backs Hands-free Law
As of July 1st, 2008, California drivers may be ticketed for driving while holding a telephone to their ear and talking. Some folks thought the law should go further [and the rules now mention texting specifically].
Others were outraged at the rather arbitrary infringement of their right to bear cell phones. They point to other common Los Angeles traffic phenomena, including drivers applying makeup, eating or even turning around to slap kids in the back seat. Why pick on cell users? There are rules generally forbidding “distracted driving”. Shouldn’t that be enough? Maybe. But as a motorcycle rider, I can tell you first-hand, things have gotten a lot more risky since so many people began using GPS, MP3 players and smartphones
As a hypnotherapist, I have another perspective on hands-free rules: When you’re driving, you are already multi-tasking. You’re steering a large piece of machinery; you’re scanning your mirrors; you’re watching out for the speeders, for pieces of debris blowing off trucks, for lane-splitting motorcycles and so on.
Drivers need to have both hands on the wheel is because that position is an anchor, a physical reminder that they’re driving. Even if you’re chatting away, if your hands are at the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions, you feel like you’re driving.
On the other hand, if you’re driving with one hand and the other hand is up to your ear, you’re in a position that signals you to focus on conversation.
Linking mental ideas and suggestions with physical gestures is a natural process that hypnotherapists recognize and help clients use. And although you might not have thought of it before, safe driving is a topic that often comes up in a hypnotherapy session. At the end of a hypnosis experience, when a client has just emerged from a state of heightened focus and suggestibility, it’s important to get the brain and the body back into the present moment. When clients leave the Voss Hypnotics office in Eagle Rock, I usually suggest they take a quick walk around their car before getting in and driving.
“I’m right off the Pasadena Freeway,” I explained recently. “My clients drive here, then they experience hypnosis, which often puts them in a deeply relaxed state. It’s great for healing and for changing old behavior patterns, but highway hypnosis is something we try to avoid.”
Frankly, I use the headset all the time because it’s safer and also because of my mom. The thought of me trying to drive and hold the phone has always made her incredibly nervous. I had to admit she was right, and years ago we made a deal: I can call her from the road if I have both hands on the wheel.
But if a nervous mom is not enough of a reason, just think of all the good you can do with the $159 you just saved!