The majority of people admit to using their smartphone at least occasionally while driving. We’ll say it’s “only for a quick check” of messages or to enter a postcode in whilst navigating. We can probably admit to playing music or checking calendar appointments. We know we shouldn’t be doing it, but during a slow drive or in traffic, it’s become a part of our time in the car.
However, it’s dangerous to use your smartphone while driving, and distracted driving has become the number one issue of car accidents, even above drunk driving. In the US, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving is now responsible for more than a quarter of all car accidents. Mobile phone use is the most prominent cause of distracted driving with nearly half a million people using their cell phones while driving every single day.
Recently Kara Macek, the spokeswoman for the Governors Highway Safety Association told the New York Post that…
Drivers are getting the message, but not taking it to heart. They know they shouldn’t be doing it and are well aware of the laws.
The solution to reducing accidents is to take some proactive action. Sometimes yes, you may need to use your phone while driving, like when you need directions. Just be smart about it and use the right accessories to help you drive safer.
- Car Mounts
In the UK, you cross the legal boundary when you use your phone in your hand, so a mount allows you to interact without breaking the law. For the most part this keeps your hands free and you can keep your eyes at the level of your windscreen.
When choosing a mount, get one that’s easy to use. You want one that your phone will fit snugly into and is easy to release and grab onto your phone. The last thing you want is for your phone to fall onto your lap when you go over a bump.
A magnetic charger can be an option as it’s so easy to place and release your phone onto. For these, they’re usually securely connected to your dashboard or air vent, and it connects to a magnetic strip on the back of your phone case.
- Hands-Free Calling
Mobile phones now offer a hands-free calling option. Likewise, newer cars will have Bluetooth built into the vehicle so you pair up your phone and everything becomes hands-free. For older cars, we’ve arranged a lot of plug-in Bluetooth / FM gadgets that will turn your car into a Bluetooth system. Then you just say “Hey Siri,” or “Okay, Google” (depending on your device) to activate the call. Of course, there’s always the old-school Bluetooth devices that go in your ear.
Hands-free phone use may reduce the risk of accidents, but it doesn’t eliminate them. The National Safety Council told the Washington Post recently that..
The issue is more mental than physical. Drivers talking on a cellphone…can overlook up to 50 percent of what’s around them while looking out the windshield. And activity in the area of the brain that processes moving images is reduced by up to a third when talking or listening to the phone while driving.
- Charging Mounts
Wireless charging is something that I love, but sadly it’s not as widespread on phones as I’d like. If you have the capability, getting a car mount which also has wireless charging is a great way to keep your phone topped up during those prolonged journeys.
If you don’t have wireless charging, a simple charging mount will of course still let you plug in a power charger at the bottom. It’ll mean that your phone is charged without taking your attention off the road.
- Dash Cam
Although you might not be distracted, other drivers could be using their phones at the wheel and might either cause an accident or be dangerous on the road. Without any evidence, it’s easy for them to blame you or something else if there’s an accident, so there’s been a rise in dash camera usage across the world. The footage can then be sent directly to a smartphone app for playback. Sometimes this can be done wirelessly via WiFi or you can copy from a microSD card.
According to the CDC, drivers ages 16-19 are most likely to get in an accident, and the risk factors go up if they’re using their phone or distracted by friends in the passenger seat. You can monitor their driving and discover the cause of a potential accident.
Although technology and gadgets can help us to reduce our mobile usage on the road, we also have to use our own will power and concentrate on driving rather than messing around with a smartphone.