MILWAUKEE — The hot days of summer in Wisconsin are almost over. With school resuming, thousands will be hitting the highways for their last summer vacation over Labor Day weekend. Verizon Wireless, the largest wireless communications provider in the United States, reminds travelers to take along their wireless phones in case of emergency situations as well as for overall added convenience.
Verizon Wireless offers the following travel tips for using and protecting your wireless phone this Labor Day weekend:
Stay Safe While Driving
Always use hands-free devices. These allow you to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the steering wheel.
Use voice mail to receive calls when driving in hazardous conditions. If traffic conditions warrant your undivided attention, turn your phone off and let calls go to voice mail.
Ask about emergency roadside assistance services. Verizon Wireless, along with many other wireless companies and travel clubs, offers these services linked to cellular phones.
Report traffic accidents or suspicious activity. Use your phone to relay information to law enforcement agencies. Remember to give the dispatcher your location, since many 911 systems cannot automatically detect where you're calling from when you use a wireless phone.
Make calls when your car is not in motion. If you are traveling with a passenger, let him or her make or receive calls. If you are traveling alone, pull off the road to a safe place and then make or receive calls.
Prepare Before You Go
Take along your phone's instruction manual. You may not be using important features on your wireless phone that you might need on your trip. Also, jot down your carrier's customer service number to ensure quick assistance while traveling.
Pre-program important and frequently dialed numbers. Make the most of your wireless phone's personal directory and speed dial options by pre-programming home, family members' and emergency contact numbers so you can dial them by pressing only a few buttons.
Make a "cheat sheet" for your wireless phone. This will be a time-saver by helping you remember dialing shortcuts.
Be Good To Your Phone
Keep your wireless phone dry. Sand, dust and moisture will damage your phone. Precipitation, humidity and liquids contain minerals that will corrode electronic circuits. Keeping it in its protective holster is a good idea.
Do not leave your phone in hot places. High temperatures can shorten the life of electronic parts, damage batteries and warp or melt certain plastics. Keep your phone in a secure dry place and away from sunlight. If it's a hot day, take your wireless phone with you -- don't leave it in the car.
If you need to clean your phone, don't use chemicals. Wipe it with a soft cloth, slightly dampened with a mild soap-and-water solution.
Be careful not to drop, knock or shake your wireless phone. Rough handling can break internal circuit boards.
Consider insuring your cellular phone. It's inexpensive compared to the cost of replacing your phone if it's lost or damaged. (Note that many wireless calling plans that offer a free phone do not include replacing a lost, stolen or damaged phone free of charge.)
Conceal your phone or take it with you. Never leave your phone in plain view in the car, or in an open purse or briefcase.
Don't leave your phone behind. Wireless phones are among the most common items that wind up in the "lost and found" bin. As you leave taxis, rental cars, shuttles or restaurants, make sure you have your phone with you.
Where and How Long Will It Work?
Research and understand where your phone will, and will not, work. Before leaving on a trip, ask your carrier if they offer wireless service in the area where you'll be traveling. Also, you won't be able to use your wireless phone on a cruise ship, in an airplane after takeoff or while driving through long tunnels.
Consider using a digital phone. It has a voice mail feature so you won't miss important calls, even when your phone is turned off. Digital text messaging allows you to receive information from the phone without having to actually talk on it.
Bring along an extra battery or a charging unit. Take the cigarette jack adapter when driving -- just connect the adapter to your phone and plug it into the cigarette jack in your vehicle to charge your phone.
Remember to exercise proper wireless phone etiquette. Courtesy takes priority over convenience. Be aware that the use of cellular phones in certain places like the theater and restaurants and during ceremonies is rarely appropriate.
Determine the most convenient way to carry your phone. As you pack or prepare for your trip, consider where you'll keep your phone -- on a belt holster; in a purse, console or glove compartment of a car; or packed in a locked suitcase, carry-on bag or luggage.
Airport screening devices will not damage your wireless phone. Wireless users need not worry about exposing their phones to airport screening machines. Note that for security purposes, officials may simply ask you to turn the phone on and off.
Your phone should be comfortable. Consider size, weight and ease of use before purchasing a wireless phone. If it's not comfortable, you're less likely to use it.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S., serving more than 25.6 million voice and data customers and 3.5 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast company was formed through the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp - now Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) - and Vodafone (LSE:VOD; NYSE:VOD). The company, which includes the assets of Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging, is licensed to serve nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population and 96 of the top 100 markets. Headquartered in New York City and Bedminster, NJ, the company has 30,000 employees. For more information about Verizon Wireless, visit its Media Center on the Web at: http://www.verizonwireless.com/mediacenter
About the Great Lakes Area
The Great Lakes Area of Verizon Wireless is headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois. The Great Lakes Area includes the Greater Chicago market and Northern and Central Illinois; the Greater Indianapolis market and most of Indiana; the Greater St. Louis and Cape Girardeau markets of Missouri; the Greater Milwaukee, Green Bay and Madison markets and other areas of Wisconsin; Detroit, and Southeast and Central Michigan markets; and the Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland markets and much of Ohio. The Great Lakes Area serves more than 5.6 million customers and has a potential customer base of 41.2 million.