Going Hands-Free With A Side Of Hash Browns

You are a safe driver. There’s no question about that, right? Wait, you’re not…

…reading this and driving at the same time are you? Whew. I didn’t think so because that’s illegal. But if you are, pull over immediately. Gently brake.

Now, continue reading this un-put-downable article.

Starting August 1 in Minnesota, if you are out driving and want to use your cellphone, you can’t hold it in your hand.

If you want to hold it with some other part of your body, you probably shouldn’t be out in public at all.

The fine for getting caught not going hands-free starts at $50 and goes up from there. Here are some ways to go hands-free from the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety:

• Don’t use your phone when you drive. Put your phone in the glove compartment or trunk or backseat or turn on a do-not-disturb app and enjoy the drive. It’s free, and you will be surprised at how many new sights you will see on your drive.

• Use a single earphone that has the microphone, and you are hands-free. Remember, using earphones in both ears at the same time is illegal in Minnesota.

• Pair your phone to your current car or truck. If your existing vehicle and phone can talk to each other, pair up and go hands-free.

• Buy an auxiliary cable and connect your phone’s earphone jack to your car’s AUX jack. You can operate your phone by voice or single touch and listen through your car’s audio system. Auxiliary cables can be purchased for less than $5.

• If your car is older and doesn’t have an AUX jack but has a cassette player, you can buy an adapter that fits into the cassette player and allows you to connect your phone through the earphone jack. The cassette adapters cost about $30.

• Buy a holder to clip your phone to the dash. You can use it in a voice-activated or single-touch mode. Clips can be simple and cheap or complicated. Make sure you get one that holds your phone securely. Prices range from less than $5 to $50.

• Buy a Bluetooth speaker or earphone to pair with your phone. There are many after-market choices for both, all of which let you go hands-free. Prices are generally in the $10 to $50 range.

And while you’re at it, better not eat McDonald’s hash browns while driving.

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