You’re driving in your car when *bing*, you hear a text message alert from your mom. You quickly glance down at your cell phone when suddenly, you rear-end the vehicle in front of you. According to Bloomberg, car accidents in the United States reached roughly 40,000 in 2018 - a 14 percent increase compared to four years ago. With more drivers on the road, practicing safe driving is extremely important.
While a common cause for traffic accidents is the use of your smartphone, there are a handful of smartphone apps that may help prevent distracted driving for yourself or a family member. We researched the top free apps offered and broke down its highlighting features.
Price: Free (for personal use)
Unique Feature: Reward system for drivers
As one of the best apps on the market, LifeSaver has numerous features to prevent distracted driving. The app can automatically detect when you are driving and locks access to your phone (for Android) or warns the driver to “keep your eyes on the road” (for iPhone). In the case of an emergency, the app features an “emergency call or “emergency unlock” button, allowing LifeSaver to contact the driver’s accountability partner (aka “loved one”). Also, the app allows hands-free calling, along with navigation and music (as long as you set it up before driving).
LifeSaver differs from its competitors by offering a Cell Phone Safety Discount Program. This program partners with car insurance companies (such as Good2Go Auto Insurance) to provide a discount on your car insurance. To qualify for this discount, you must be a customer of said company. Essentially, the program is designed to reward you for being a safe driver.
Price: Free for basic features, Pro package at $3.99/monthly
Unique Feature: Audio messages
Another leading app is DriveSafe.ly, most well known for addressing the notorious texting-while- driving issue. The app is powered by iSpeech Text to Speech program to read text messages and emails in 3 different languages with a choice of female or male voice. The user can even reply to messages via voice. This brilliant feature allows for hands free access, is simple to setup and has an optional feature to auto-reply to text messages.
DriveSafe.ly is currently offered only to Android and Blackberry users (sorry iOS users).
Unique Feature: monitors teen driving
TrueMotion Family is a popular choice for families with teens who are driving. The app includes unique features such as:
- location sharing (so as a parent you can know where your child is driving)
- a driving report card (a grading scale of your child’s driving)
- 24/7 roadside assistance for emergencies.
For teens that are just starting to drive, TrueMotion Family records unsafe driving habits (i.e. the number of times you exceed the speed limit) and reports it to the parent.
The sophisticated app uses machine learning, advanced signal processing and data science to understand the driver’s behaviour and collect driving insights directly on your smartphone. For example, it monitors your driving behaviour, your vehicle behaviour (braking, speeding and acceleration) and captures crash data.
Unique Feature: Augmented reality
iOnRoad is an Android app that uses your cell phone camera and augmented reality to detect oncoming objects as you drive. The app uses special algorithms to process the camera’s picture. If there is a vehicle in front of you, the app calculates the distance between you and the car to determine collision time. For example, the iOnRoad flashed a big red, yellow or green sign to alert you of your distance. The app also block incoming calls, emails and text messages.
Another impressive feature is alignment detection. If you accidentally fall asleep behind the wheel and drift off to the side, the app sounds a loud alarm to wake you up. P.S an Apple version of this app is in development, so keep an eye out!
Price: Free app download with the purchase of the Raven system
Unique Features: complete connected car system
Raven, smart car system, is designed to sit on top of your dashboard or windscreen. The system is paired to the Raven app (available for download on Android and iOS devices) which gives you access to live video and information about your vehicle. The app includes customizable driving alerts such as speeding, acceleration and harsh braking. You can easily monitor your teens driving and be alerted to any car problems on the Raven dashboard.
You can also share your trip with friends or loved ones using a unique link - simply send the link via SMS, email or other communication channels before departing. The recipient will be able to live-track your location through the link until the trip ends. If you’re looking for a smart car system, check out Raven!
Although it’s great to use a smart app to help you drive safely, it’s important to always practice safe driving. Even if you’re a good driver, always be aware of how others around you are driving and expect the unexpected. A common practice is to keep a 2-second distance between you and the driver in front of you. Happy driving!