Being distracted while driving could mean more than just a missed turn; it could have serious consequences. There is, however, more than one way to help limit distracted driving.
You know how tempting it is. You hear the bing of your cell phone, and you feel the vibration letting you know there’s a text message. You also happen to be driving. You tell yourself it will only take a second to look, and the road ahead is clear.
Has this ever happened to you? Hopefully, you didn’t give in. It may only take two seconds to read a text, but in that time, a child can run into the street, a green light can turn red, or you can veer off the road and into a ditch. Text messages are one of many avoidable and potentially deadly driving distractions. But some new technology is limiting those distractions. While driving will always include risks, there are steps we can take to reduce those risks.
There are plenty of low-tech solutions to cut down on distractions while driving, biking, walking, or engaging in other activities that require our attention. Simply turning your phone off, for instance, is one way to limit calls and texts that could disrupt your concentration. There are also a few very high-tech (and expensive) options, such as self-driving cars, although it will be some time before driverless cars have any real presence on the road.
The current reality is somewhere in the middle. We use our phones for directions, music, and other typical driving activities. Newer cars have touchscreen controls for the radio, climate control, and built-in GPS. This technology, though well-intentioned, can take our eyes and our attention away from the road. But where there’s a need, there’s an app that hopes to fill that gap. Here are some of the promising tech solutions to help prevent distracted driving.
7 Tech Solutions to Distracted Driving
1. Phone software
Software updates to some phones now include a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode. Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Pixel 2 both offer this as an option in your settings. With the Pixel 2, you can customize what does and does not get through the system, such as specific contacts or apps. For the iPhone, you can set up an automatic text reply so the texter knows you’re driving.
AT&T offers a free DriveMode app for both iOS and Android. It automatically turns on when you reach 15 MPH, silences calls and alerts, and lets parents know if a teen driver disables the app.
DriveSafe.ly is available for Android or Blackberry and comes in a “Family Pack” for $34.95 per year. The app will read your text messages and emails out loud and send an automatic reply.
Cellcontrol is both an app and hardware that you apply to your windshield with adhesive tape. The hardware restricts all incoming alerts but is customizable so you can still receive important calls or use your navigation system. The app also allows you to monitor driving behavior.
The free LifeSaver app is helpful both for drivers and parents of young drivers. Using a blend of gamification and peer/parent monitoring, the app not only restricts poor driving behaviors, but it also rewards good behaviors.
Apps aren't the only solution to the problem of distracted driving. If you’re in the market for a new car, look for these in-vehicle technologies; they won’t limit distractions, but they can prevent the damage those distractions often lead to.
6. Automatic emergency braking (AEB)
AEB is the next step in the evolution of forward collision warnings. If your vehicle detects a potential collision, a warning system alerts the driver. If the driver fails to take action quickly enough, the AEB system kicks in and will automatically brake. This feature is not available on all cars yet, and it rarely comes as standard equipment. However, it could be worth the extra expense to increase the safety of your family on the road.
7. Lane departure prevention
Another in-vehicle technology that is gradually gaining prevalence is a warning system that alerts drivers to possible lane departures. In some cases, the vehicle will automatically correct the departure. The technology is still new, and in some cases, is reported to work differently between auto manufacturers. Nonetheless, it holds a lot of promise in reducing accidents.
Even with the growing ubiquity of both distractions and distraction prevention technology, it’s important to remember that the responsibility of safe driving ultimately belongs to the driver. Even without technology, there are plenty of distractions while driving our vehicles: talking to passengers, changing radio stations, interesting sights outside of the vehicle, and noisy kids, just to name a few.
When you’re behind the wheel, make driving your number one priority. Plug your destination into your GPS before you leave, ask your passengers for help, or just pull over if you need to text or make a call.
Take the pledge to be a safe driver. Download our Focus to the Finish contract and commit to distraction-free driving.
Whether you need simple liability insurance or comprehensive coverage, Pekin Insurance has the auto insurance policy you need. Get in touch with your local Pekin Insurance agent today and learn more.