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Distracted by your phone in the car? Try this safety feature.

Cell phones provide users with any number of possible distractions throughout the day. These may be welcome distractions while sitting in a waiting room or standing in line at the grocery store, but not while behind the wheel of a car. Distracted driving accidents happen far too frequently because drivers can't look away or put down a device.

For users worried about controlling the impulse to check a phone while driving, Apple iPhones provide a safety feature called Do Not Disturb While Driving to help mitigate the urge to check a device. The iPhone feature comes with the phone's operating system, meaning every device has the feature pre-loaded.

Android users can also utilize a distraction-reducing feature, but will need to download an additional app to do so. Both the Android Auto app and the iPhone Do Not Disturb While Driving feature can automatically launch when connected to a car's Bluetooth system. The iPhone feature can also launch when it detects a car's movement.

Tailoring the feature to you

Do Not Disturb While Driving offers a number of personalization options so users can specify their preferences for when the feature kicks in. By default, the feature enables the phone screen to remain dark and the device to remain silent while a user is driving.

You can set an auto-reply to text messages so others know you're driving and will get back to them shortly. If a contact replies "urgent" the device lets the message get through. There's a similar override for phone calls. If a contact calls twice in a row, the second call will come through as the feature detects urgency. You can also set favorite contacts who will automatically override the feature.

The feature doesn't complete cut off users from their devices. Emergency messages, timers and alarms still sound and drivers can still use Maps to navigate. The feature exists for reasonable safety measures, not to completely cut off users from the ease and accessibility of technology.

Cutting down on distracted driving

Distracted driving is a real danger for every person on the road. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report more than 1,000 accidents and nine deaths each day caused by distracted driving. Cell phones may offer helpful features and connectivity, but they don't come without an added risk.

To decrease the number of injuries and deaths from accidents caused by distracted driving, users may consider using added safety features such as Do Not Disturb While Driving. These accidents are often entirely preventable if a person would just put down a phone and focus on the road.

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Broomfield Office
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