Have you dropped your phone when getting out of the car?

Published: November 7, 2012

Smartphones are very important tools to many of us. Not only do they provide hours of endless entertainment and keep us in contact with loved ones, they also help us take our work virtually everywhere with us. Unfortunately, accidents happen. Sometimes even the most careful person can slip-up and let their precious smartphone slip through their buttery fingers. And sometimes the most rugged of cases can't save a smartphone from a seemingly harmless fall.

More than once, I've dropped a phone from about waist high and watched the case shatter on impact. And I've had countless close calls where I have caught my phone on my foot over a tile floor or have simply caught a falling phone in mid-air. Luckily, I have yet to suffer a terribly damaged phone. A flung the original Galaxy Note at least 10 feet in the air one day for it to land on a patch of asphalt and suffer barely noticeable scuffs. And the Galaxy Note II slipped out of my coat pocket onto a hard tile floor two days ago. It only took a single, small scratch on the upper left corner.

Though it may not sound like it, I try to be extra careful when handling my phones. After all, I don't always purchase them on-contract, meaning they're rather expensive investments.

Still, I have a lot of close calls. And accidents do happen … all too often. Of all times and places, however, the majority of the accidents of late have happened in one general place: in or around my car. And it typically happens when I'm getting out of my car.

Apparently, this is a common time and place for many people to lose track of their phone. And it's also a common time for people to seriously damage their phones. A quick Google search of "dropped phone getting out of car" will show just that. And when I worked in wireless retail, I can't begin to estimate how many people came in each week with the same sob story. "I was getting out of my car and my phone was on my lap …"

Again, I've been fortunate. But only just so. The very same day I smashed the Galaxy Note II on a tile floor, I very nearly broke my iPhone 5 in half. I was getting out of my car to check the mail. I unbuckled my seat belt, opened the mailbox and came back to the car to find that the door hadn't fully closed. I assumed it was the seat belt caught in the door and proceeded to open the door unheedingly. When I did, I noticed there was something on the bottom of the door jamb. It was my iPhone 5. Immediately, I grabbed it up and quickly inspected it. The initial verdict was that everything was peachy.

… Then I saw it. The upper right part of the antenna seem had separated and some innards were exposed. I squeezed the antenna back down into place and everything seems to function just fine now. But there is still some separation between the antennas. It's barely discernible in the above picture (click the image to enlarge), but it's definitely there. And I can especially feel it when sliding a finger over the now-uneven seem.

The amazing part is that this is the first time this has happened. Since I stream Spotify while driving, I always drive the car with my iPhone either on my leg, in the cup holder or under my right leg. I can't even begin to count the number of times I have slid towards the edge of the seat and had the iPhone land in the floorboard or between the seat and door.

I never thought it was a serious issue, though, since I rarely get out of the car too quickly, or quickly enough to project the phone out of the car. But since my car is so low to the ground, that's not likely as serious of an issue as it landing in the door jamb and me slamming the weight of the door on my poor phone.

Since Monday, I have been on alert both when entering and exiting my car, and I grab both phones in my coat pocket when standing up and sitting down. Last time was too close – I'm lucky to still have an iPhone that works. It was seriously gut-wrenching, particularly because I opted-out of insurance this time around.

Now when getting ready to get out of my car, the very first thing I do is grab both of my phones. I will do everything I can to never do that again.

Tell me, folks. Have you ever dropped your phone when getting in or out of your car? Or have you ever smashed your phone in a car door? Even if your phone survives, it's awful, isn't it?

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