Here’s a question that’s likely to pop up in family quizzes: ‘What is nomophobia?’ Answer: It’s a fear of being out of mobile contact.

It was first coined in a 2010 study by the UK Post Office into the anxieties of mobile phone users. The authors abbreviated “no-mobile-phone phobia” to nomophobia. The study found more than half the UK population suffers from it. In the US, about two in three, sleep with, or next to, their smartphones.

According to a recent RED C poll, three out of five Irish people are nomophobic.

But what’s nomophobia got to do with road safety? Well, it clouds every driver’s better judgment once inside their car. Otherwise responsible drivers, who would never drink and drive, feel they can justify their compulsion to use their mobile while driving. They are risking their lives and others in the process.

Outside of the car, mobiles can be lifesavers. They are a source of entertainment. The downside is just how dependent we’ve all become on them. If you think you’re any different, ask yourself when you last switched off your mobile? How did you feel when you misplaced or lost yours? You might even argue it is an addiction.

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