Our society can be characterized by near-complete reliance upon our gadgets and technology. But it’s weird — these very things which make our lives so much more convenient, and which connect people so much more to the [even mundane] details of each other’s lives, can also be dangerous — even life-threatening.
It’s all about balance, right?
Well, even though the law of the land (and let’s face it, good sense!) would have us turn off our phones and stash them away in the trunk or glove compartment while we drive, thereby avoiding even the slightest temptation to update Facebook or check Instagram or respond to texts while driving, we know that’s not always realistic. We’re a technology-addicted society.
So the next best thing — and what’s brilliant about technology — is that we can actually use technology in order to NOT use it while we’re driving! There are a number of safe driving apps that will:
- prevent your phone from receiving texts, calls or other notifications while driving (or will read them aloud),
- respond with an “I’m driving now” type message,
- report to another user (such as a parent) if you’re violating some parameters such as boundary, speed limit, curfew, unlocking phone, etc.,
- and perform many other functions as well.
Parents: For the first time in well, the history of the world, you can actually KNOW what your teen drivers are up to behind the wheel. You can know where they are, what time they are there, if they’ve exceeded the boundaries you’ve set for them, if they are driving too fast or erratic, and if they are unlocking their phones while driving, or otherwise driving distracted.
(You can use these apps to hold yourself accountable to safe driving. Many apps have family packs so everyone can participate. And hey, what better way to teach your kids safe driving than to MODEL it for them!)
There are lots of apps available — your car insurance company most likely has one also, and it might include a discount, so be sure to check that out. Here are 3 safe driving apps we have chosen to highlight.
Top 3 Safe Driving Apps
What it Does: “This app tells you where your family members are and how they got there, with details on exactly how they drove including phone use, texting, aggressive driving, and more.” It also scores and ranks each driver in the group and shares the results among the whole group.
You do have the ability to turn off your location if you wish to keep that private. (We’re thinking of something fun like holiday shopping — nothing sinister!)
Note: This app used to be called Canary, but was purchased by TrueMotion. This app runs GPS continuously, which can decrease your phone’s battery life.
What it Does: According to the app, there’s full parental or third-party monitoring of all phones under the account (not sure if there’s a limit). You’ll receive an email notification if your driver is using their phone while driving. This includes calling, texting, going online, or using Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, or any other social media channel.
It does, however, allow the driver to set certain numbers to be used in an emergency.
Note: This app also runs GPS continuously, which can decrease your phone’s battery life. The app’s developers are working to minimize such problems.
Cost: $129 for the Automatic Pro adapter, available here. Then the app is free.
What it Does: Automatic Pro connects your car to the internet and features Crash Alert, which connects you to first responders in the event of a serious accident. You’ll always know where the car is — whether in a crowded parking lot or when your teen is out driving. It will also diagnose issues with your car! The app will silence all incoming calls, texts, and notifications, and can auto-reply with a text if your teen is behind the wheel. (It will also keep track of your teen’s driving style and will offer tips for safer driving.)
Note: Obviously this one is quite pricey, but for the cost, you get a lot of features that help ensure your whole family is safe behind the wheel.