As more states pass hands-free driving legislation which may or may not include provisions relating to texting, travelers need to be aware. In your own home state, most of us are aware of the local laws that prohibit the use of cell phones (or not) while driving. When we go on a trip, however, and land in that unfamiliar (or vaguely familiar) city and get into an unfamiliar rental car, we sometimes forget or neglect our normal driving habits. Need to get to that meeting? Want to check into your hotel right away? We will immediately gravitate to something familiar and grab our Smart Phone and use the GPS for directions. Or maybe call an associate to tell them you’re on your way. Looking at your phone’s GPS for directions and having it in your hand, you are in danger not only of being a distracted driver, but also the possibility of a ticket. Law enforcement will sit by airports waiting to grab those that have a phone in their hand.
Regarding talking on the phone; the first thing you want to do is make sure you have your Bluetooth (or similar) device ready to go. If you forgot it, don’t have one, or yours is not charged, make sure your rental car has Bluetooth capabilities. Being that most rental fleets have current model vehicles, chances are you’ll get one. However, not all car manufacturers have Bluetooth capabilities as standard equipment. I was in a Volkswagen Jetta the other day and was surprised when I could not locate the Bluetooth. I found this to be true with some of the Mitsubishi models as well. Not all Nissans have Bluetooth pairing either. Avis and Budget’s Where2 GPS devices, as well as Dollar and Thrifty’s Nuvi GPS (you have to rent these separately), can be used a Bluetooth device. Hertz’s NeverLost GPS’ do not have Bluetooth capabilities.
As mentioned, having your phone in your hand while using the GPS may be just as bad as talking or texting on it, as you are let’s face it: distracted. Most of the car rental companies; National, Hertz, Avis, Alamo, Budget, National, Enterprise, Dollar, and Thrifty all rent GPS devices of some sort. Prices vary and sometimes you can get a special or a package rate. The rental companies GPS units are updated constantly so you can have the latest and greatest information and travel tools. Some will even offer you traffic conditions as well. When you think about safety, peace of mind and convenience, a GPS may be well worth it; especially if it helps you to avoid an accident or a traffic citation that could cost you hundreds of dollars.
Be careful driving, I’ll see you on the road.
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