How many times have I jumped into my car, merged into traffic, fumbled inside my purse for my cell phone and felt that sinking feeling I get after realizing that I probably left home without it.

Whether we want to admit it or not, cell phones are just as important as our own wallets, purses and pocketbooks.

I’m willing to admit that I would jump through hoops, brave long traffic lines and go through a lot of other trouble to retrieve or even resuscitate my cell phone.

If I leave the cell phone at home, I would likely miss a call from the school nurse informing me that my child could not keep her lunch down today, or one from my mother who would probably lock herself out of her car. I also have saved a lot of material on mine, including video footage from my son’s football games, photos, important numbers and a lot of saved messages.

Cell phone dependence is also the subject of studies about its effect on its users. Because people carry valuable data on their phones wherever they go, according to the International Journal of Mobile Communications at McMaster University, the same anxiety or stress that can occur following a lost or stolen tablet computer, laptop or other digital device, can occur with the loss of a cell phone.

Many phones include things like personal banking information, company spreadsheets and business statements.

Without them, we are immediately disconnected. Losing a mobile phone can also bring security and privacy risks if the lost phone ends up in the hands of the wrong person.

A couple of years ago, I jumped into a swimming pool before realizing that my cell phone was still inside the pocket of my swim shorts. I spent the better part of the day hoping to revive the phone with a blow dryer, but that failed. I later tried a bowl of rice, hoping that the rice could absorb some of the water. It did not. The phone was ruined and I replaced it.

I lost another cell phone while riding on a roller coaster at an Orlando amusement park. After I reported it, the park called me back a few days later with news that my phone was recovered.

The first thing I did was check my messages and calls, something most Americans do, according to the Pew Research Internet Project which found that 67 percent of cell phone owners check their phones for messages, calls and alerts.

Pew Research also found that 90 percent of adults have a cell phone, 58 percent own a smartphone and 42 percent of adults own a tablet computer.

Another part of the survey resonates with many users, some 29 percent of cell phone owners described their cell phone as, “something they can’t imagine living without.”

I cannot imagine living without mine.

Chante Dionne Warren is a freelance writer. She can be reached at http://www.knowla.org/entry/529/">chantewriter@hotmail.com.