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Wireless Phone Cited As Best Safety Tool For Winter Driving

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ROCHESTER, NY — During the winter months when snow and ice create dangerous roadways and low visibility, a wireless phone can be a lifeline during an emergency or accident. According to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, the best winter safety precaution is to travel with a wireless phone.

Verizon Wireless has heard from many of its customers telling how their wireless phone came through in a driving incident or emergency in inclement weather.

After a deer struck Jason Newlon's vehicle on a rural stretch of highway last winter, his car was undrivable and he needed medical attention. Newlon was able to call the police with his wireless phone, have his injuries treated and summon a tow truck.

"Traffic on the highway was quite light," the Liverpool, NY resident explained. "We were thrilled to have our cellular phone."

During a heavy snowstorm, Lora Mazzaferro of Webster, New York used her wireless phone to call 911 after she lost control of her car on the New York State Thruway and landed in a ditch. There were dozens of other accidents, many with injuries, so Mazzaferro was forced to wait for three hours before receiving assistance. During that time, 911 operators were able to call every half-hour and ensure she was okay. Mazzaferro was also able to call her family to let them know what had happened.

"Thanks to my wireless phone, a potentially serious situation was avoided," said Lora.

Naturally, a wireless phone can't prevent an accident, but it can be an important tool to have when the unforeseen happens.

Verizon Wireless would like to offer some quick tips for using your wireless phone to keep safe while driving this winter:

  • Use your wireless phone to call for help. Dial 9-1-1 and press "Send" in case of a traffic accident, medical emergency, or road hazard. This is a free call from your wireless phone. Be sure to check your surroundings before calling and try to note landmarks or street names. You will need to provide the dispatcher with detailed information about your location.

  • Suspend conversations when driving conditions are dangerous or traffic is heavy. Avoid using your wireless phone when driving in heavy snow, on icy roads or when visibility is low.

  • Charge your wireless phone regularly. Keep your phone fully charged, especially when planning a longer trip. You may want to invest in a cigarette lighter adapter to recharge your phone during travel.

  • Write down emergency numbers and keep them in the glove box. Preparing your car for winter includes taking time to write down important numbers such as local towing services, your auto club and your insurance company and storing them in your glove compartment. You may also want to enter these numbers into your phone's speed dial memory.

  • Keep your wireless phone accessible. Be sure your phone is within reach so you don't need to look for it in an emergency.

  • Use hands-free devices. Using speakerphones, voice-activated dialing services and hands-free devices such as headsets will allow you to keep your eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel.

  • Be familiar with your wireless phone features. Memorizing your phone's keypad will enable you to use features such as speed dial and redial while keeping your attention on the road.

  • During a severe snow emergency when many people need to use the wireless network, use your phone for truly important calls only. By keeping the duration of your calls short and only using your wireless phone to call for help or to check in with your family, you help ensure that the network is available for everyone who needs it.

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S.with 26.3 million wireless voice and data customers and 3.5 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp -- now Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) -- and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). The new company includes the assets of Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging. The company has a footprint covering nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. Verizon Wireless, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 32,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at