Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving Feature On iOS11 Will Be A Life Saver

do not disturb while driving

Apple looks like it’ll finally do something about our favorite, death-defying stunt: texting while driving. Most of us probably downplay this habit but figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggest we shouldn’t. With distracted driving claiming the lives of thousands every year, we all should err on the side of caution and put our devices down whenever we’re behind the wheel. Apple thinks it can be part of the solution to this growing problem. With the upcoming iOS 11 (slated for release this fall), Apple will offer a feature to keep drivers less distracted by their iPhone while out on the freeway. The new feature is called Do Not Disturb While Driving mode.

A Simple Solution

From a technical standpoint, what Apple offers as a solution is a simple one.

By now, iPhones already know when you’re on the road or just moving about. Using that data, iOS currently disables apps that could prove too distracting for motorists. A preview of iOS 11 promises to do more than that, though.

In the upcoming update, Apple’s mobile operating system (OS) won’t just disable apps, it will now silence all incoming SMS, calls, and notifications with the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature. It’ll also automatically send people an SMS saying that you’re still driving and can’t respond at the moment.

Do Not Disturb While Driving

The new feature, called “Do Not Disturb While Driving”, will withhold any app notifications whenever an iPhone is connected to a car through cable or Bluetooth. That or if the car is moving. The screen will then be locked, too.

Users will be able to use Apple Maps as well as GPS (or functionalities that can aid drivers), though. While using Apple’s navigation app can be readily used, a potential problem here is that users won’t be able to input their destinations. Google Maps can still work, but it won’t function quite as smoothly.

Although the driver may be kept from using most apps this way, the passengers can simply disable the feature. By indicating that they’re not driving, the iPhone resumes its normal operation. Experts surmise that this workaround can potentially defeat the new feature’s purpose, though.

Apple CarPlay to Come in Handy

Once iOS 11 rolls out its Do Not Disturb While Driving feature, you’ll be in luck if your car is equipped with Apple’s car interface. The app has been designed to let drivers use their iPhones safely while driving. It lets you hear and respond to text messages via voice command.

The CarPlay is mostly available in cars made by automobile manufacturers like Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, Honda, and BMW. Simply check your car’s computer screen to find the app.

A Long Overdue Feature

No doubt, this do-not-disturb function is a nifty concept. Many analysts think it’s a little overdue, though. And to be honest, it may not be enough to completely change our habit of paying more attention to our Apple device than the road.

Make no mistake—Do Not Disturb While Driving will likely save lives. That’s all that matters, really. We’ll have to wait if Google launches a similar feature in Android phones. It’s a life-saving initiative and we think every smartphone should already come with this functionality right out of the box.

On second thought, Google may already have beaten Apple to the punch. The search engine giant has, after all, developed the nifty Android Auto app.

Another thing we’ll wait and see is how Apple implements the override function. If the mode can easily be reversed, it may very well render the feature useless. Hopefully, it’ll offer more resistance than a swipe on the screen.

Staying Off the Phone

It may be surprisingly difficult to let go of your smartphone as you drive, but it isn’t impossible. All it takes is to realize the dire consequences of distracted driving and work on building good, driving habits.

If you’re finding it difficult peel your eyes away from your iPhone while you’re behind the wheel, here are a few, practical tips you can work on:

Completely shut down your phone

This is the easiest, most effective way to stay off your mobile device on the road.

Purposely keep devices beyond easy reach (i.e., glove box or trunk)

You won’t be easily tempted to check who just sent you an SMS.

Have your smartphone on “silent mode”

Better yet, put it in airplane mode when you’re behind the wheel.

Just these three tips should be enough to keep your focus on the road and lessen the distractions. We recommend you start doing them while iOS 11’s Do Not Disturb While Driving mode isn’t available just yet.

Beyond these measures and Apple’s upcoming safety feature, there have been a few other initiatives launched for the purpose of safer albeit less distracted driving. Nissan, for one, is looking into the idea of adding a Faraday cage in its cars. The said box can block radio transmissions of any kind from reaching your mobile device.

At the end of the day, this persistent road safety dilemma all boils down to discipline. If you can only keep yourself from glancing at your phone often while you’re on the road, you’d likely be saving lives.