Distracted driving is a major problem in this country. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, distracted driving is a leading cause of injury and death on roads, including nearly 3,500 deaths and 391,000 injuries a year.
Further NHTSA research shows that more than 481,000 drivers are using their cell phones when they drive. The many tech gadgets in cars are also a major distraction, even if they make the ride more pleasant and interesting.
According to the NHTSA, officials will start cracking down. “NHTSA leads the fight nationally against distracted driving by educating Americans about its dangers and partnering with the States and local police to enforce laws against distracted driving that help keep us safe,” it said in a report.
“… [T]he States determine laws affecting distracted driving, but NHTSA provides Federal investments in the locally driven strategies that address the States’ specific needs.” For the safety of you and everyone on the road as well as your protection against legal consequences, it’s crucial to look at minimizing distracted driving wherever possible.
Removing these tech gadgets from vehicles is probably not feasible at this point. Instead, we should look at changing our habits and adopting gadgets that can make us better, safer drivers.
Here’s a look at some of the top gadgets on the market to improve people’s driving.
1. MyKey—Parental Controls
Parental control systems are perfect for parents who are a little nervous about their teen drivers. Many car manufacturers have developed these. MyKey by Ford is one of the best.
It offers a variety of customized settings for parents, such as the ability to control the radio volume, to limit spontaneous dance parties in the front seat. There’s also a Belt Minder setting, which beeps annoyingly and mutes the speakers until the driver and their passengers are buckled in.
One of parents’ favorite features for this tool is a speed limit setting that prevents the car from reaching more than a pre-set velocity. Youthful drivers won’t be able to speed, which is good because it’s one of the top causes of accidents.
2. Garmin Dash Cam—Video Footage to Protect from Accidents
Garmin has produced a handy Dash Cam that can be mounted to the front or back of your car for your protection. The ability to take video footage while driving can be extremely valuable, especially if a collision occurs.
The video can provide evidence that police can use to determine who was at fault and therefore responsible for covering medical bills and damage. If you’ve ever been through a personal injury case following a car crash, you know how valuable this can be.
The camera is also equipped with collision warning, speed warnings, and incident detection. It will alert you if an accident seems likely and prevent you from getting badly hurt.
3. Do Not Disturb Mode—Apple’s Contribution to Safer Driving
One of Apple’s iPhone updates last year added a setting called “Do Not Disturb While Driving.” The aim is to remove much of the temptation to use your phone while driving. When engaged, the phone will sense when you’re driving and block certain activities.
First, the screen will stay dark and will remain silent when you get a text or phone call. You can preselect certain names to show up, and the phone will automatically connect to your phone’s speakers and microphones for hands-free driving.
You will receive emergency alerts, timers, and alarms, so you don’t have to worry about missing vital information. Texts will also get through if the sender types “urgent” at the beginning of the message.
4. iOttie Smartphone Holder—Hands-Free Driving
This one isn’t exactly a tech item, but an accessory that enables you to use your tech safely. iOttie is an Amazon bestseller that makes hands-free driving easier.
The device can be mounted to your windshield via suction cup or your dashboard, via the CD player or air vent. Some models have grips that can be adjusted to hold any size of phone, and others are magnetic.
Answering phone calls, following navigation on Google Maps, or listening to music becomes less stressful and more safe.
Who says gadgets will always be the cause of car crashes? With these—and others like them—in your vehicle, you can improve your driving by keeping your eyes focused on the road and your hands on the wheel.