Safer driving starts with a number of common sense approaches, including reducing your potential for distractions. Now, the nation’s three major cell phone carriers are featuring free, Android-based apps that can block incoming texts and calls to essentially render your phone inactive while you’re behind the wheel.
With AT&T’s “Drive Mode”, when enabled and the vehicle is moving at least 25 mph, the app automatically sends a customizable auto-reply message to incoming texts and sends calls to voicemail; Sprint’s “Drive First” automatically locks the mobile phone when a car is moving more than 10 mph, disabling phone functionality, directing incoming calls to voicemail and silencing distracting alerts for emails and text messages; and Verizon’s “Safely Go”, activated each time you drive, allows you to lock your phone and send automatic text messages alerting others that you are behind the wheel and can’t respond. The app can also route phone calls through Bluetooth or other hands-free devices. While these apps are currently only available for Android devices, Apple is currently at work on a similar function, “Car Mode,” that would be pre-programmed into its smartphone devices using iOS 7 and later.
It’s not always easy to avoid the temptation to answer your phone or read a text message – but even when traveling at a low speed, it’s more than possible to be involved in a serious accident from just a moment’s inattention. For more information, check out Consumer Reports at consumerreports.org or contact your individual cell phone provider for specific details about installation and usage.