Chances are, you own a smartphone. After all, 68 percent of adults do now, according to PC World. This is up from 35 percent of adults in the U.S. who were smartphone owners just four years ago. If you have a car that you purchased within the last few years, you probably also have an in-vehicle infotainment system in your car. In fact, your vehicle may communicate with the infotainment system.
Infotainment systems let you use your voice to control things like your phone and your in-vehicle GPS. They’re supposed to be safer because you don’t have to hold your phone or look down at it… you can just talk to your car and it does everything for you. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has worked up guidelines to make these infotainment systems safer, and their two-part guidelines even address the integration of aftermarket products with infotainment systems.
So, how can you deal with all of this technology in your car while still saying safe? Here are some tips.
Motorists need just ONE tip to stay safe when using in-car technology: don’t use it! Far too many people believe it is “safe” to talk to their vehicles infotainment system as they drive. You may use your system to send text messages, enter data into a GPS, change the music, or do a number of other things that your car is equipped to do now. You could also have your phone linked to your car so you can drive and talk at the same time while keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. You probably think it is safe if you are doing this, since after all, you aren’t holding or looking at a phone.
The sad fact is, this idea you can “talk” to your car without getting distracted is a dangerous myth. As National Safety Council warns, the human brain is just really not good at multi-tasking. When you talk on the phone or talk to your car or do anything else other than concentrate on driving, your brain energy is taken off of what matters. You could miss seeing and processing as much as 50 percent of what is going on around you because your brain is thinking about your phone conversation or about telling your car to switch the radio station!
Sadly, the fact so many people us infotainment systems (and phones) while driving is contributing to a significant increase in auto accident risks. New York Times reported there was a 10.4 percent increase in auto accident risks during the first half of 2016 compared to the first half of 2015. There has not been an increase this big for 50 years. If you don’t want the death rate to keep rising, and if you don’t want to become a victim, following this simple tip on using in-car technology!