Our cell phones give us access to limitless information; however, having access behind the wheel is a serious hazard. Thousands of unsuspecting individuals are injured or killed in car accidents each year as a result of distracted drivers. A significant number of those drivers were using a cell phone to talk, text, or otherwise communicate. When the mind and eyes are focused on reading a text message, there’s no way for a driver to know what’s going on around them.
It’s critical for all drivers to be aware of the dangers of texting or accessing social media while driving. Contrary to what many people say, multitasking is not safe – especially behind the wheel. Fortunately, there are ways to block access to cell phone use while driving. Some phones have built-in applications designed to limit communication access, while other users will need to download an app to block their access.
Eliminating the temptation to pick up your phone and multitask can keep you safe and also encourage family members and friends to prioritize safety when driving. Stopping a couple people from using their cell phones while behind the wheel may seem like a minor step in the right direction, but it’s vital to remember that safety starts at home. It starts with us.
Avoiding Driving Distractions with In-Phone Features and Apps
Depending on the type of phone you have, there are different ways to limit texting and social media access while driving. Whether you’re a parent trying to teach your new driver how to be responsible behind the wheel or are often tempted by the sound of notifications going off, using the applications and programs designed to prevent cell phone use can help to reduce the number of distracted driving collisions.
Apple’s “Do Not Disturb While Driving” Feature
With iOS 11 and later, iPhones are equipped with a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature. When a phone is connected to a car with Bluetooth capabilities or through a cable, notifications will be withheld while the car is in motion. A default response message can be sent to friends if they text you. If the sender replies to your message with “Urgent,” you will receive their text. In addition to that, the feature locks the iPhone screen to prevent drivers from using their apps.
If you activate this feature, you can expect your phone to stay silent and the screen will remain dark. Certain notifications, like emergency alerts, timers, and alarms, will still be delivered. You can receive phone calls from your Favorites, like with the standard “Do Not Disturb” feature. In the event someone calls you two times in a row, however, the call will come through as usual if you are connected to your car’s Bluetooth. Also, if you are a passenger who is trying to use the phone, you will be prompted to tap “I’m Not Driving” to disable the feature.
To activate this feature, do the following:
- Go to Settings > Do Not Disturb > Tap Activate
- You can choose to have the feature work automatically, manually, or only when connected to the car’s Bluetooth
This feature can be turned off and on in the Control Center. To add it to your control center, you will need to:
- Go to Setting > Control Center > Customize Controls
- Tap the green plus symbol next to “Do Not Disturb While Driving”
If you are the parent of a young driver, you can set the features you want your child to drive with and prevent changes being made by following these steps:
- Go to Settings > Screen Time > Tap Turn on Screen Time
- Tap Continue > This is My Child’s iPhone. From there, you can follow the prompts to enable restrictions.
- Tap Continue and create a Parent Passcode
- Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions and enter your passcode
- Scroll and tap Do Not Disturb While Driving > Tap Allow
Android Auto is designed to minimize distractions to help drivers stay focused on the road by providing larger touch targets, a simplified interface, and the help of the Google Assistant. While this app can be accessed with just a phone, there are currently 400 car models that support this feature. An Android phone running Android 5.0 and up will work, but Android 6.0 and up is recommended. You will also need a car mount for the phone and a USB cable. The app can be downloaded on the Google Play store.
To set up the Android Auto app on your phone, you’ll need to do the following:
- Open the app. Your phone may prompt you to download or update additional apps.
- Review the terms and conditions.
- Following the on-screen steps to give the app permission to access your phone’s features.
- Turn on notifications for the app.
- If your phone is already paired with your vehicle’s Bluetooth, you can select the device and enable auto launch.
If you are planning on using your car’s display for the app, complete the steps above and on your car’s display select Android Auto.
Apps that Prevent Phone Use While Driving
In addition to the features discussed above, there are a number of apps phone users can choose from that have a similar effect. One of the most popular is called Drivemode. This app allows drivers to ignore calls or texts or provides a safer way to answer calls and hear messages. With this app, users can reply to a text message with voice commands, set up text message auto-replies, automatically launch and close the app with Bluetooth pairing, and set a “Do Not Disturb” mode.
Other popular apps include TextDrive, Driving Detective, and Cellcontrol. The primary feature of TextDrive is an auto-reply for incoming texts. Driving Detective, similar to the Apple feature, puts the phone in a do not disturb mode. The last app, Cellcontrol, is useful for businesses looking to reinforce proper device usage when employees are operating company vehicles.
Even with the technology that can help people avoid using their cell phones while operating a vehicle, there are still reckless drivers who will choose to text and drive. If you believe you were harmed in an accident because of the negligent decisions of another party, you can take legal action. To learn about your rights and options, contact us today.