Mobile phone use makes for dangerous drivers
MOBILE phones - we'd find it hard to live without them but when it comes to driving, they're best left at home.
Illegal use of a mobile phone when driving has become one of the biggest causes of frustration and dangerous situations on the road.
Driving instructor Candita Hamblin sees people talking on their phones while driving every day.
"There's a lot of near misses," Candita said.
"People will often miss the lights because they're stopped at a red light and using their phone."
In Queensland, it is illegal if you are the driver of a vehicle to have a mobile phone in your hand even while you are stopped at lights.
The penalty is a $330 fine and three demerit points.
"People think they're invincible," Candita said.
"Put it on silent, or put it somewhere you can't get to it."
The only time a fully licensed driver can use a mobile phone is if the phone is attached to a hands-free kit, in a cradle or using wireless headset technology and the phone is not in their hand.
"A dock will cost you about $20," Candita said.
"It's well worth it.
"You take your eyes off the road for a split second and it's a dangerous situation."
Candita said it was a mistake to think that sitting your phone in your lap or in the side door while driving was alright.
"Your phone cannot be touching any part of your body," she said.
"Gladstone's really not that big.
"Most places you can get to in 10 minutes.
"What's that important that you can't wait?"
Candita Hamblin: "DISTRACTIONS are part of our everyday life.
"However distractions while driving can be dangerous - and there are many types of distractions that can happen - I see them every day while I am conducting lessons.
"These include people playing around with their CD or mp3 players, using their navigation systems and the biggest one I see is people talking with their mobile phone to their ear.
"It is difficult to control your car if your hands are otherwise occupied.
"All it takes is a split second to take your eyes off the road and disaster can strike.
"With the holidays coming and many people heading away, we all need to be the little bit more aware of our surroundings while driving.
"It does not take much time and effort to pull over to change your CD, type in the address you are looking for or make your phone call.
"Please don't make this Christmas one to remember for the wrong reasons. Let's all get home safe and sound."