Recently Kim Kommando (host of the weekly radio show bearing her name) wrote an article discussing the “One Huge Mistake People Make When Renting Cars.”  In the article she explains that when you pair your cellphone with a rental car your cellphone number and call log are downloaded to the car and stays with it unless you take steps to delete it before returning the car.

While what the article says is entirely accurate, my advice is, don’t pair your cellphone with a rental car, period.  Just the act of driving a car you aren’t familiar with increases your chance of having an accident.  Add to that the risk of using a cellphone and you are just an accident waiting to happen.

Studies have shown that using a cellphone while driving substationally increases your risk.  According to a study done by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute talking on a cellphone while driving increases your chances of an accident by 61%.  And if you think having your phone paired with your car  for hands-free use mitigates that risk, think again.  According to the AAA Foundation:

"The impact of using a hands-free phone on driving performance was not found to differ from the impact of using a hand-held phone, which the researchers suggest is due to, “withdrawal of attention from the processing of information in the driving environment” while engaging in cell phone conversation.

My advice, before you make a call, before you answer a call, is think about the risk you are putting yourself in and others.  Is the call your making really that important?  Can it wait 10-20 minutes until you reach your destination?

And when it comes to answering a call (this is the hardest thing for me) try to ignore it.  Since I’m not involved in any form of emergency service there hasn’t yet been a case where my waiting 10 minutes to return a call has been a problem.  I know this isn’t the case for everyone, but I urge you to try.  Every time you drive your car there is a risk of being involved in an accident, why do anything to increase that risk?