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Under the hood: Mobile and car technology that helps keep you safer behind the wheel

What we'll cover

  • Smartphone apps that can help remove distractions

  • New car technology

  • Pros of tech features

Technology has unlocked endless ways to enhance your driving experience, from avoiding traffic to finding the nearest charging station. But did you know it can help keep you safer too?

Most road accidents result from human error, and distracted driving continues to be a major cause in the U.S., accounting for over 900,000 crashes each year. But technology packed into your smartphone or under the hood of your car is working to prevent both.

Research shows that many of these driver-assistance systems and mobile apps can help reduce crash frequency.  To help you navigate safe driving tech, we’ve compiled the latest to look for before you get behind the wheel.

Put distractions in the background

Just as you might enable airplane mode when you fly, you should turn on driving mode when you’re in the driver’s seat. Driving modes can limit or block notifications for incoming calls, texts, emails and more, once your vehicle hits a certain speed.

Driving modes will also automatically reply to let your friends and family know when you’re on the road and you can easily turn them off and on. Nowadays, most phone manufacturers have native apps or you can try one of these third-party apps to keep distractions in the background.

Driving Focus

For iPhone owners with iOS 15, you can set up Driving Focus to silence or limit text messages and other notifications. You can even ask Siri to read your replies, so you don’t have to look at your iPhone.

Google Assistant Driving Mode

Android users with Android 12 can bring up a dedicated dashboard with the command “Hey Google, time to drive” or by linking it to your car’s existing Bluetooth connection for audio suggestions. The dashboard uses a card-based system featuring Google Maps that makes sure everything you need while driving is on screen and accessible, no scrolling required.

TrueMotion Family

Maybe you’ve got teens, and you’re worried about texting or TikTok notifications? This app tells you where your family members are and how they got there, including details like phone use, texting, aggressive driving, speed and more. With TrueMotion Family, you’ll get a complete picture of how safely your family is driving and can keep everyone accountable.

Check under the hood

Beyond the technology that’s in your phone, manufacturers pack the latest automobiles with in-car technology that can help you avoid a collision or the problems that often accompany distracted driving. If you’re in the market for a new car or learning more about the one you already have, look for these advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) to keep you safer when cruising to your next destination.

Adaptive cruise control

With adaptive cruise control, or ACC, you can automatically maintain your chosen speed and distance between your car and the vehicle ahead. ACC senses when you need to brake or accelerate so you don’t have to.

Forward collision warning

Ever feel like a few seconds could have saved you from a headache or fender-bender? Forward collision warning (FCW) systems provide you with audible and visual warnings when they detect a potential collision, hopefully giving you enough time to react and avoid it.

Automatic emergency braking

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is the next evolution of anti-lock braking systems. It detects potential collisions when traveling forward and automatically engages your car’s brakes when it sees a potential crash.

High beam safety system

This technology, also known as automatic high beam headlights, switches between high and low beam headlights based on whether there’s leading or oncoming traffic.

Lane departure warning

Drifting or departing your lane is a common cause of collisions. The system detects lane markers and alerts you when a tire touches a lane marker. It’s usually a flashing or beeping indicator on the corresponding side.

Traffic signal recognition

This system “sees” road signs using a forward-facing camera system behind the windshield and then displays them to you as you are driving a vehicle.

Traction control

Driving at night while it's raining or during a snowstorm can be a scary feeling, especially when you might worry about losing traction. This safety feature maintains a car’s traction by limiting how much your wheels can spin, making it easier to stay connected to the surface even in poor conditions.

The next generation of ADAS will implement wireless network connectivity to enable vehicle-to-vehicle communication and more. In the future, cars will communicate with each other to provide a safer and more automated driving experience.

In the future, cars will communicate with each other to provide a safer and more automated driving experience.

The road ahead

Distracted driving can derail any road trip , but modern technologies (both in-car and via your smartphone) can provide a level of confidence and safety next time you hit the gas.

These mobile and automotive features are ones to watch. We’ll continue looking to the road ahead to keep you up-to-date on the latest technologies that can help you be a safer driver.

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