Samsung is going to release a new app for idiots who can’t just pull the damn car over to check a text. Or wait until they’re stopped.
Samsung Netherlands has created a new app called In-Traffic Reply which is going to help drivers keep their attention on the road and not on their phones. Using your phone while you’re behind the wheel can be very dangerous. You might think that it’ll only take a few seconds to check that message or read what your friend just tweeted, but those few seconds can quickly prove to be fatal if you take your eyes off the road.
PanelWizard conducted a survey which found that one-third of the road users in the Netherlands have used their smartphone behind the wheel. In most situations, they felt social pressure to answer calls and reply to messages immediately. Samsung wants to bring down this statistic.
And it’s fine that this exists, and people want to download it and use it. I’m sure that’ll make us all safer. I don’t know what to make of people who lack both the common sense and discipline not to use their phones when driving. And I don’t want to live in a world where an app like this is mandatory.
I’m not saying I never use mine, but I have a few rules. First, since my truck doesn’t have a fancy BlueTooth system, I got a Go Groove BlueGate CTR. This thing is great. It’s a BlueTooth receiver with a microphone. It plugs into my aux port. I have the receiver mounted on my dashboard near my steering wheel. If I get a call, I just press the button and I can talk to the caller. I ignore most calls though unless it’s my wife or somebody from work. Otherwise, that’s why God gave me Google Voice. My Go Groove also has buttons for forward and back, so I can skip commercials on a podcast or skip to the next song. I never listen to the radio. Only content on my phone.
Second, I keep my phone on a windshield mount. It’s right there in my field of vision. I use Waze most of the time when I’m driving. I can see what’s ahead of me, and send reports for cops and hazards.
Third, other than minor interaction with Waze, I do not touch my freaking phone at highway speeds. I have never gotten a text or Facebook comment that was worth my life. Even if I got a notification that @realdonaldtrump followed me on Twitter, I’d wait until I’m stopped to make sure it’s not a joke.
OK, if traffic is below about 20 MPH, maybe I’ll clear notifications, but I don’t read anything unless I’m at a complete stop. And with my phone in the windshield mount, I know when the light turns green or when traffic is moving. Here in Northern Virginia, traffic gets so bad, I’ve read books in my Kindle app while sitting on the highway, not moving.
If you get a notification that you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO READ RIGHT THE HELL NOW!, you won’t hit a SINGLE traffic light. It’s the best condition to be in. As soon as you check it, they’re all going to turn red, and you’ll hit every last one.
This goes back to something I said all the time several years ago when I read blog posts about families going to extremes, like burying their phones in the yard during dinner so nobody used them. Do you own your phone, or does your phone own you? Who is the boss? In my case, if I don’t want my phone bothering me, I’ll shut it off or put it in Do Not Disturb.
I’ve never understood why other people have so much trouble with that.