Dear Annie: You recently printed a letter from “Worried Driver in Lafayette, Ind.,” who asked for a universal sign to tell drivers to hang up their cellphones.

As a psychology instructor, this subject often comes up in class when discussing signs as communication. The most used response is to flash the “call me” sign and then invert it, or rotate the thumb down, which looks like hanging up. However, as my students always note, the recipients tend to retaliate with the Royal Bird salute because they are in their “eminent domain” — their sovereign vehicle — within which they feel they have complete authority and will resist, often emotionally, any intrusion. — Louisville, Ky.

Dear Louisville: Hundreds of readers replied with suggestions, and yours was the most popular. Our thanks to everyone who contributed.

Read on for more:

From Miamisburg, Ohio: To indicate someone’s cellphone use is affecting their driving, how about making the sign for “call me” and then moving the hand to make a slashing gesture under the chin? In other words, cut the call.

Quebec: I made a sign with a picture of a cellphone and a line through it and put it in my car windows. It says, “Please don’t text or talk while driving.”

We travel from Canada to Florida, and I use this for the whole trip.

Massachusetts: My 15-year-old daughter said she witnessed someone texting and driving. I was horrified when she told me she gave them the finger. She laughed and said, “Mom, ‘the finger,’ as in wiggling it back and forth and saying ‘tsk, tsk.'” Our 12-year-old loved this idea and used it when he saw a driver talking on his phone. Amazingly, the driver looked at him, nodded in agreement and put the phone in his shirt pocket.

Texas: My suggestion is to just forget it. Using your phone while driving is simply rude. If you were to actually catch their attention and ask them to hang up, the response definitely would be a hand signal — and you know which one.

Florida: I hold up a hand with my thumb below the other fingers (like a duck’s mouth) and snap them together — signaling “stop yakking.”

Boston: My advice would be for her to pay attention to her own driving instead of rubbernecking to see what other drivers are doing.

Kansas: How about a “thumbs down”? It is almost universally accepted as a gesture of disdain and disapproval.

Nebraska: Try this: Make the “call me” gesture, and then shake your index finger at them three times, which means “naughty, naughty, naughty.”

Chicago: Use the recognized gesture for “call me” while shaking your head “no.”

Lafayette, Ind.: I suggest the old thumb and forefinger slid across the lips, as in “zip it.”

Huntley, Ill.: If a cellphone user is behind me on a four-lane road, I slow down to allow them to pass. The slowing is a message of my concern, and it also removes the likelihood of a rear-end collision. Once, when I was traveling on I-55, I slowed and the guy passed to the far left, but he was so intent on his phone that he missed the “lane closed” signs and didn’t notice the barrels blocking the road 500 yards ahead. He just plowed right into them, causing great damage to his fancy Mercedes.

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