Winter, Your Phone, and Safety

Winter, Your Phone, and SafetyI’ve written extensively already about the importance of making sure your home is ready for winter and your car is equipped in case of a wintertime emergency. Winter can offer some challenges for your cell phone and your interactions with it. In order to stay safe and protect your smartphone, you always need to be aware of your surroundings and cognizant of the effects of temperature and moisture on mobile technology.


For one, wintertime weather requires that you are extra sensitive to your surroundings, especially if you’re operating a motor vehicle like a car, truck, or motorcycle. Some studies have shown that people who drive while manipulating their phones perform just as erratically and exhibit similar reaction times to drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Especially if the roads are obstructed with ice, snow, rain, or other fog, it’s important not to be distracted by your phone. Do not respond to messages, and keep background noise like music low in order to direct all your attention towards driving.


Windshields become extremely vulnerable to shattering once they’ve chipped and water seeps in — and the same goes for smartphones. If your screen has some small hairline cracks, you need to be careful not to expose it to moisture when temperatures below freezing. Otherwise, you may be putting your phone screen at risk of fully shattering, since water expands as it becomes ice.


Phone batteries are known to behave peculiarly in below-freezing temperatures. It’s wise to keep extra fully-charged phone batteries on hand just in case your battery freezes. If for some reason you can’t get a hold of a new charged battery, sometimes, taking the battery out of the phone and warming it in a pocket may help milk some last battery life out of it. As I’ve discussed in previous blogs, it’s also wise to keep a fully-charged power bank on you in case you need extra charge.


For your safety, load up your phone with apps that will keep you abreast of the weather, potentially dangerous road conditions, traffic, and accidents. Being aware of potentially difficult weather will help you plan around the circumstances. In addition, ensure that you mark your In Case of Emergency (ICE) contacts in case of an accident so first responders will know who to contact if you’re unconscious. Some phones will mark these in red to make it even clearer to keep paramedics from rifling through your phone.
As long as you’re conscious of the weather and respect the elements, you can keep yourself and your phone safe during the winter months without issue.