Safety features for technology use is becoming a big focus for car makers. Distracted driving has become such a problem that safety features include lane drifting alerts, sonar alarms, and automatic braking systems to help avoid crashes. It does not take long for something bad to happen if you get distracted and take your eyes off the road. The most frequently mentioned distraction while driving is technology. Even though most drivers know they should not check a text while driving, many still rationalize it’s only for a second. Unfortunately, that is all it takes to crash. Here are three ways you can manage technology safely to be a responsible driver.
- Program before you go. One of the most common reasons drivers give for needing to use their phones while driving is for the GPS or maps. One of the best tactics for driving safely while using a maps app is to program the address into the app before driving. Do not wait to plug in the address until you are already on the road. Take the time to review the route and know what to expect. Having a general idea on the directions helps relieve some stress and can help you plan accordingly. Setting the app to vocalize directions can also help keep your attention on the road.
- Change your settings. Two great settings for driving are voice controls and “Do Not Disturb”. The voice controls are used for the phone. Many cars are equipped to have your phone sync in. With a press of a button on the steering wheel or saying a certain phrase out loud, you can ask your phone to call people or read your text messages to you.
The other setting called “Do Not Disturb” allows your phone to still receive messages, phone calls, and alerts, but keeps them silent while turned on. Some phones can even send a message that you are driving and will get back to them once you arrive at your location. These controls can help keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
- Commit to never text while driving. It is easy to become comfortable while driving and multi-tasking helps people feel productive. Recommit to not texting while driving. Commit to staying focused on the road. Promise yourself that you will pull off the road if you need to send or read a text. If you have a passenger, ask them to remind you if you reach for your phone or have them respond to a text for you if it is important. The consequences for being distracted while driving are not worth it.
Even though technology takes a lot of criticism for distracting driving, it also can help solve the problem. There is no question that technology has improved life and can improve safety too when used correctly. The responsibility for using technology wisely falls with each individual person. Whether you are a new driver or experienced one, when it comes to managing technology on the road safely, make the right choice to stay focused.