Using a smartphone while driving may seem innocuous enough. It’s the sort of act that people think they can handle, especially when it’s for something like looking up directions. Unfortunately, the truth is that using a smartphone while driving has become a leading cause of car wrecks in the past few decades. Cars are moving too quickly for anyone to safely handle their phone while driving.
With all of the advanced features of phones (e.g. GPS, email, Audio Apps like Spotify etc.), texting is merely one of the distractions that comes out of our smartphones. We all love technology, and people unconsciously take risks to stay connected.
Thankfully, the danger of using these apps while driving has been well documented and steps are being taken to reduce these behaviors. Many states now are now banning smartphone use while driving unless the device is supported by a hands-free device. Legal penalties are getting stiffer and stiffer for those caught disobeying these critical laws as well.
Bluetooth and hands-free technology has made massive strides to allow drivers a safe option for smartphone use as well. There are plenty of safety features available that will allow mobile users to interact with their phone without distractions.
The Rise of Vocal Commands
Speech recognition technology has been a thing for quite a while now. In the 1950s and 1960s, companies were just starting down the path of creating computers that could recognize specific commands. Nowadays, the top tech companies all have speech recognition software that can recognize nearly every command. Vocal commands are even being used in search engines these days, which also have to determine user intent when speaking.
Phones and even newer cars are equipped with these personal assistants now, which is what allows hands-free driving to be possible. Instead of needing to handle your phone to input a command, now you can simply tell the phone what you need and whichever personal assistant is on your phone will handle the command. From asking for directions to texting a friend – it can all be handled through speech recognition.
The Value of Bluetooth in Vehicles
You can also use voice to make a phone call through Bluetooth, which is another vital aspect to hands-free devices. Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows devices to share data and interact when in close proximity. By pressing one button on a steering wheel or dashboard, your can take phone calls through the car’s audio system which removes the need to hold the phone at all.
It doesn’t stop with sending out messages or emails, either. You can be completely hands-free and receive a text message or email while on the road as well. Many car manufacturers have installed features so when a text message is received, it will transcribe the text to audio and play it out through the car speakers. That way, you can hear any incoming texts or emails without removing your eyes from the road. This is quite convenient and is easily controlled by the settings of your applications and car. Being able to have a text or email conversation handsfree in your car is seamless these days.
Adaptations Available for Older Vehicles
Some of the technology features discussed in this article are applicable to newer cars (although cars as old as 2010 contain this technology). However, there are plenty of options for those who drive an older car. You may have to get yourself a phone mount and USB cable to connect into your car’s audio system, but can still take advantage of basically every feature mentioned earlier in this article. Almost every cell phone these days has a personal assistant such as Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa. That means, as long as you connect your cell phone via USB, you should be able to use voice dictation for sending texts, making calls and sending emails. You can also ask your personal assistant to do things like play music instead of staring down at your car’s middle console.
It is extremely unfortunate that handsfree technology was not ready for the dangers that came with the advanced cellular technology. However, it has finally caught-up and there is no excuse for not taking advantage of it. Whether you drive an older car or newer car, there are plenty of options to maintain a fully functional hands-free experience while operating a motor vehicle. Take some time to research what is available, it may just save lives.