Obtaining roadside assistance from USRider is a piece of cake for its traveling Members. They simply call the toll-free number on the back of their membership card. But, wait, what if you’re in a rural area and your cell phone has died?
“Quite frequently, we hear from Members who have a roadside emergency that point out that the battery is very low on their cellular phones,” said Mark Cole, managing member for USRider, the national provider of roadside emergency assistance for equestrians. USRider is in its ninth year as the only company that has ever provided emergency roadside assistance to horse owners.
“A cellular phone is of no use when the battery is dead, and worse yet, we cannot assist if you cannot contact us,” added Cole.
For this reason, USRider recommends that horse owners purchase and carry with them a 12-volt plug-in power adapter for cellular phones when traveling with their horses. Be sure to plug in and test the power adapter to make sure that it will work in an emergency – when you need it. Perform this test in any/all vehicles that you travel in – this will ensure that the 12-volt accessory socket in your vehicle is working as well.
Even if you start your trip with a full battery, reports show that cellular battery life is lessened in areas where reception is spotty. Your phone will constantly hunt for a better signal, using up power as it does so.
“Many times, this seems to be the case in rural areas where we enjoy our equine pursuits,” said Cole.
While the battery life of some cellular phones is better than others, the new smart phones tend to be especially hard on batteries.
USRider offers tips for conserving battery life:
- Adjust the brightness of your screen to a dimmer setting.
- Set your backlight to cut off after 15 seconds or less.
- Switch the vibrate function off on your phone, using just the ring tone. The vibrate function uses additional battery power. Keep the ring tone volume as low as possible.
- If you are using your phone for e-mail, adjust the e-mail update time to 30 minutes or longer.
Another tip to extend battery life is to allow your phone’s battery to completely run down once a month – this is known as “cycling” the battery. As Todd LeFort explains in “Maximizing laptop and cell phone battery life:
Nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries, and to a lesser extent, NickelMetalHydride (NiMH) batteries, suffer from "memory effect," which occurs when a battery is only partially discharged before being recharged. The battery "forgets" that it has the capacity to further discharge all the way down. For example, if on a regular basis, you fully charge your battery and then use only 50 percent of its capacity before the next recharge, eventually the battery will become unaware of its extra 50 percent capacity, which has remained unused. The battery will remain functional, but only at 50 percent of its original capacity. http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-1043618.html
A third type of rechargeable battery is the lithium ion (LiIon) battery. Since these batteries use a different type of chemistry, they are not susceptible to memory effect. To learn what type of battery your cell phone uses, simply remove the battery cover on your phone – the battery type will be clearly visible on the battery.
Additionally, it helps to turn your phone off when it is charging. Many phones run hot when charging. The higher a phone’s temperature, the faster its battery life decays. Simply turning the phone off will keep it at a cooler temperature when charging. And, when charging, be sure to wait until the battery is fully charged before unplugging it from the charger.
If your battery is old and weak, it may be time to replace. While battery technology has improved greatly, the typical cell phone battery generally has a life expectancy of approximately 400 charge/discharge cycles. For most phones, you can purchase a higher capacity battery than the original battery. Look for batteries compatible with your phone with the highest mAh rating (MilliAmps Hour rating is how long the battery will last per charge).
Keep in mind that batteries do not perform as well when cold, thus, try to keep your phone from getting cold.
As an additional safety precaution, USRider recommends adding our emergency telephone number to your contacts list and saving your USRider Member ID number on your cellular phone.
“Use these tips, and when you need us, you’ll have our number at your fingertips and plenty of battery power for your cellular phone!” said Cole.
Through its Equestrian Motor Plan, USRider provides emergency road service to its Members in the lower 48 states as well as Alaska and Canada. Designed for those who travel with horses, USRider provides emergency roadside assistance and towing services, along with other travel-related benefits geared especially toward horse owners, such as towing up to 100 miles plus roadside repairs for tow vehicles and trailers with horses, emergency stabling and veterinary referrals.
For more information about USRider, visit the USRider website at http://www.usrider.org or call (800) 844-1409.