#TechThursday – Rock The Cradle

  Lindsey Schutters


 23 Jan, 2020

Distracted Driving

Rather advertise your phone than gamble with your life, says Lindsey Schutters about the complex relationship with distracted driving.

Carmakers are the reason why you see so many people using their phones in traffic because there’s no such thing as an intuitive or well-supported, universal car infotainment system. Finding a way to prop up my phone behind the steering wheel at the exact angle and volume I need to project my voice as to trigger the relevant AI assistant, is much cheaper and simpler than dealing with a manufacturer’s poor software decisions. And it’s definitely more ergonomic than sticking the phone in my crotch, with the added benefit of having a view of the road ahead in the periphery should I need to glance at my wife’s text.

But what’s the deal with those circular flap vents on budget cars, though? An unnecessarily hostility towards air vent phone mounts? Well, having your phone in a clamp/mount on the air vent serves three purposes:

  1. Portrait orientation is better for map navigation in traffic – you want to see more of the road ahead
  2. You can take advantage of the aircon to cool your phone down
  3. It’s usually close to a power outlet or USB port, so you can charge at the same time

Bonus points for having the Face ID sensors pointing at your face for effortless unlocking. “But what about smash and grabs?!”, you say? Well, your exposing yourself to the risk of taking your eyes off the road when choosing to take your eyes off the road already is a small price, don’t you think?

If you absolutely have to access your phone while driving, at least attempt to focus some of your attention on operating your car safely. Also, you can’t be stopped by the traffic police for having your phone in your hand if you don’t have your phone in your hand.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay have come a long way and integrate well with third party apps for media and navigation, your phone also charges at the same time. Google Maps even gives you media controls right on the navigation screen. And while neither platform are standard on all cars, more and more manufacturers are adopting these integrations on their cars – even cheap runabouts. Long may it continue!

If tech companies, that want nothing more than to have your face buried in their screen at all times, are adding features and making deals to keep your attention on the road, then your life must be important. In the meantime, rock the cradle!

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