Mobile phones are a terrible distraction, only if you let them be. Some people just do not have enough self-control to keep their hands off of the phone for long. Google maps have become another reason why we need to have the phone out front while we drive. But is a text reply really worth your life? A report by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says an average of 8 people die in accidents every day due to distracted driving.
To stay safe, you can just put your phone away, but it is not that simple if you are using the same for navigation. Using the phone while you drive, may get you a ticket in a lot of states but if you put the phone in hands-free mode and use a cradle on the dashboard, your problem is solved. Putting the phone in a dock for a display of maps is not enough though. There are same ways you can set up your phone, that will limit the functionality of the phone to keep you from getting distracted.
Voice control is your savior on all smartphones, whether Android or iOS.
If you are an Android user, you will be using OK Google recognition. You have to have the Google search app installed, then go to settings, tap Voice and enable OK Google detection. On some smartphones, voice commands are limited to some basic apps, but on some, it will let you control almost all apps even when it is locked. Every time you say “OK Google” your phone will listen to all your commands. You can ask it to show you the way to any place, or you can ask it to play music. It will also let you make calls and send texts.
If you prefer Apple phones, you can look up to Siri for all the help you need. Go to the Siri settings and enable “Access When Locked” and allow the “Hey Siri” feature. The voice commands work the same way. Order it to do whatever you need to do, “Hey Siri, send a text to xxx” it will allow you to dictate a text and then send it, and you do not have to even glance at the screen. If you ask Siri for a drive, it will open up the Apple maps, and if you turn on voice directions, it will instruct you on your way.
Voice commands will do the all the necessary tasks for you on the phone, but if you are getting continuous notifications, you will end up getting impatient to reply. A fidgety person will end up checking their phone. A Google-built app Android Auto jumps to your rescue here. The app lets you put your phone to a car-friendly mode with voice control integration. The oversized buttons on the screen will limit the functionality, and you can even turn off the notifications and set up an auto-reply that will text back to everyone.
When you launch the app, there will be a few cards on the screen, limited to functions like directions, whether, and music. No more digging the phone to look for the maps. A straight “OK Google, drive to xxx” will launch the navigation mode. When your journey is complete, just tap the circular icon in the corner and the phone shifts back to normal mode.
Alternatively, you can use the Android Auto modes that come with apps like Spotify and Facebook Messenger. If you are looking for a nicer interface, Drivemode is another third-party app that can work with voice commands letting you take calls, reply to texts, all while showing the maps on the screen.
Your iPhone will not be as great as an Android when it comes you preventing distractions. CarPlay is Apple’s only option that requires a special head unit, and the stereo of your car needs to be compatible. The app will mirror your iPhone screen on the car dashboard allowing you to navigate through apps with the assistance of Siri. If you have an iPhone 5 or newer, and a CarPlay option on your vehicle, it will configure automatically when you plug in the phone.
Do not have all those accessories? Use a third-party app instead. iCarMode will cost you a couple of dollars, but it is quite a safe option. It works in both landscape and portrait modes. It offers oversized buttons just like Android Auto for quick access to contacts and maps. The bonus with the app is a parking meter timer that will let you know the location where you parked your car. It will let you quickly search the nearby places, so you are aware of the gas stations, coffee shops or ATMs nearby.
Voice control, phone stands, and car mode apps will only help you stay focused, but they are no guarantee that you will not be distracted. It is solely your responsibility to keep both your eyes and the mind on the road while you drive. The apps help nonetheless.
Source: Popular Science