You know you’re not supposed to drive when you’re distracted- from your cell phone to eating a quick lunch on the way back to the office. Sometimes, however, it’s hard to disconnect from distractions and focus on the road.
Modern technology contributes to a lot of distracted driving, but now it’s also helping to combat it. Car manufacturers are including advanced safety technology in standard vehicles. Smartphones also now have apps that can help you keep your eyes on the road and off your phone.
Distracted drivers don’t always cause major accidents. However, even a driver starting a little slower at a green light can cause a traffic jam. Avoid being a distracted driver with these technology features and safe driving apps.
Built-In Safety Technology
Cars today rely heavily on computer and technology components to get you where you need to go. In addition to internal computers that help run diagnostics, many vehicles come with infotainment centers and advanced connectivity features.
Manufacturers are taking advantage of available technology to improve both entertainment systems and safety features. Recent safety upgrades on many new models include options such as:
- Hands-Free Connectivity: Many modern vehicles are equipped with Bluetooth to sync your cell phone with the stereo system in your car. You’re then able to control phone calls or music via your car’s entertainment center or voice controls instead of on your device. This helps you keep your eyes on the road and off of your phone screen.
- Lane Departure Warnings: Lane keep assistance systems alert you when you wander across road lines. Some systems give you a visual and audio alert, such as a light on your dashboard and beeping noise. Other use vibrations on the steering wheel to get your attention. More advanced versions of lane departure systems take temporary control of the vehicle to guide it back into your lane. If you find your mind wandering from the road, lane departure warnings help you get focused again and avoid accidents.
- Collision Avoidance Systems: Many accidents occur because a driver wasn’t paying attention when making a turn, backing up, switching lanes or stopping for traffic. Collision avoidance systems work to stop these collisions by using sensors to identify other objects. The system then takes control of the vehicle to apply the brakes or give you an alert so you can avoid colliding with another car. Collision and automatic braking systems come in several forms. Backup assistance, for example, applies your vehicle’s brakes if you’re about to hit an unseen object while backing up. Front collision warning does the opposite by applying the brakes if you’re going to hit something in front of you. You could be distracted by the radio as you come upon a light that just turned red. The cars in front of you stop, but you don’t see them in time. With collision avoidance, your car applies the brakes for you and gives you a noticeable alert to pay attention again. However, keep in mind that this software cannot guarantee that you will completely avoid an accident.
- Drowsy Driver Alerts: Drowsy driver alerts usually play a loud beep, show a dashboard alert and may vibrate your steering wheel to get your attention. Many systems record how long you’ve been driving and invite you to take a break after several hours of continuous driving. Similar systems help you keep your eyes on the road by scanning your face and determining if you’re watching the road or not. If your eyes aren’t focused on the road for a while, the system gives you a warning to get them back on the road in front of you.
Smartphone Apps for Distracted Drivers
Built-in technology isn’t the only option to help you stay safe on the road. Many app developers have created smartphone apps that allow you to lock yourself out of your phone while driving so you can focus on the task at hand.
Some of the top apps include:
- DriveMode: Available for both Android and Apple phones, DriveMode allows you to use voice control or a single tap to control the most important features on your phone. Voice commands let you start music, send a text, make a phone call or get directions without needing to pick up your phone. It also has driving detection technology so the app opens automatically when you hit the road.
- TrueMotion Family: This app helps your whole family drive better by giving each member scores based on their driving habits. Every trip you take is graded on a 100-point scale using factors like phone use, speeding and braking. Your family can use the app to determine who is the safest driver and who needs to work on their driving habits. Parents can also use the app to check if young drivers are using their phones when in the car.
- LifeSaver: The LifeSaver app runs in the background of your Android or iPhone and starts up when it detects you’re driving. It automatically blocks your access to your phone during your drive. The app still allows you to make hands-free calls outside of the lock screen, use the navigation or run music apps. Drivers earn points as they drive safely, which can be used for rewards in the app. You can also choose a “Loved One” contact who receives a text message whenever you arrive safely at your destination.
Staying Safe on the Road
Even with built-in technology and a distracted driving app, you never know what might happen on the road. You could wind up along the road with a flat tire or out of gas. Luckily, roadside assistance is the perfect compliment to distracted driving apps. With the right technology, you could potentially drive safer when you’re on the road, but you can also be rest assured that help isn’t far away if you have a breakdown.
To learn more about roadside assistance or other coverage options, get an auto insurance quote from Wawanesa today.