It's Not The Number To Call

Hello for 11-2000
By: Mike Lipshultz

If you have ever called 911 from your Cell Phone you know more times than not the line just rings and rings, or you’re on hold for a very long time.  What is wrong with the operators on the other end of the line?????

Nothing.  The problem is not with the folks answering the phones.  It is with the people calling.  On top of the problem we talked about a while back about too many people calling in the same accident, a whole lot of callers are just abusing the system.

A lot of callers call in for directions, weather reports, or road service.  Some of you folks even call 911 to find out what time it is!

Stop doing it.  You are killing people!

Come on... Killing People? a little over the top, don't you think?  No, it's not.  In the event of a real accident with extremely serious injuries, every second counts.  So, when calling 911 for a real emergency, all those other calls can end up killing someone.

Here in Los Angeles, the city has started running commercials advising people not to call 911 for non-life threatening emergencies.  The city has even made an easy toll free number available.  It's 1-877 Ask LAPD.  Find out if your city has the same thing.

Need to know the time? 

From anywhere in the United States it is 853-1212.  It works in any area code.

The Weather?

Pick up your local phone book. To find the phone number for weather information, check your telephone directory under "United States Government, Commerce Department, National Weather Service."

Road and driving conditions? 

Got that to. In California and the Reno, Lake Tahoe area, try this toll free 800 service, 1-800-427-ROAD (7623). This service is available free from any touch-tone phone, cellular phone or pay phone. All other areas outside of California you can dial 916-445-7623 to reach the same service.  Not in California?  Most other States have the same information.  Just explore the links below to find your State.

Driving Directions.  No shortage of mapping sites on the Internet.  So, print out directions before you go.  Get a Thomas Brothers Map and keep it in your car.  Get lost on a drive?  Check the company that provides you with your Cell phone coverage.  Most of them offer a number you can call for addresses and directions.

Always Getting Lost???  Then get yourself a GPS direction system.  A good one will tell you where you are.  Where you are going.  And step-by-step directions.

Roadside assistance?  Join your local Auto Club, or other Roadside Assistance organization.  I belong to the AAA in California.  Day or night I have a toll free number to call.  I can get a locksmith if I'm locked out of my car.  I can get 2 gallons of gas if I run dry.  I can be towed up to 100 miles if I break down.  All for under $100.00 per year.  Yes, there are cheaper plans you can get.

So, stop killing people and act responsibly.  If you’re just one of those none thinking folks... Write yourself a big note and stick it on your dash board.  Also see the story called "I'm Still An Idiot" in this month’s issue.

For Weather Information:


For Road Conditions:



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Last modified: November 08, 2002