For the last month, I’ve been teaching my teenage daughter how to drive. At first, we started with the basics – how to put just the right pressure on the gas and the brake so that the car doesn’t jerk down the road…how to make a smooth turn…how to merge with other cars on the road. It’s a lot more pressure than I anticipated it would be before I handed the keys to my daughter and sat down in the passenger seat for the first time.
Now that KitKat is feeling more comfortable with and confident about driving around town, I’ve been adding little lessons in each time we drive. Several days ago, I told her about the little trick that my dad used on me while I was learning how to drive. He would randomly cover the rear-view mirror and have me tell him the color of the car behind me without looking. The point? He was training me to always be aware of my surroundings and the other cars on the road. I’ve had my license for 22 years (with no tickets, thank you very much) and I still pay attention to the color of the car behind me.
Being present, aware, and focused on the road is critical for driving safety, but as every mother knows, there are so many things competing for our attention, and being buckled in behind the wheel doesn’t make any of those go away.
As a digitally connected woman, I can’t imagine going anywhere without my smart phone, and while I am respectful of the no-handheld-devices law in my state, I admit that I’m torn when a call or text comes in while I’m driving. It is SO tempting to check the caller ID to see if a family member needs something urgently, or if the school is calling to let me know a child is sick.
But I know better to think that “a little peek won’t hurt.”
This past week, I downloaded the free Safely Go App from the Google Play marketplace, and I am loving it’s simple mission and execution.
What is Safely Go?
Safely Go is an Android app that allows you keep your eyes where they should be when you’re driving–on the road. Safely Go’s manual lock mode and auto-reply feature can help you be in control of your phone, not compelled by it.
Safely Go was created by Location Labs, which has been creating apps to promote families’ and kids’ safety and “digital wellness,” for more than a decade. Safely Go has partnered with many carriers, and you may have been using these apps without knowing they were Safely products–AT&T FamilyMap, T-Mobile FamilyWhere, Sprint Mobile Controls are just a few.
Safely Go helps you drive distraction-free:
- Allows only calls and texts only from your 3 “VIP Contacts” (like your family or boss)
- Tells everyone else you’re on the road and driving safely, through automatic text replies
- Enables calls through your Bluetooth or other hands-free device
- Gives you access only to your top 3 “Driving Apps” (like maps, navigation, or music)
Safely Go keeps you focused on more than just the road:
- Lock your phone to minimize distractions during meetings, class, and family time
- Practice “digital wellness” by being in control of your phone, not “compelled” by it
- Work and play better, by concentrating on being where you are, while effortlessly letting contacts know you’ll get back to them soon
Obviously, any app such as this still requires the user’s cooperation, and is only as strong as the person behind the wheel and the cell phone. However, I think something as simple as Safely Go – setting your phone to “drive mode” and committing to being safer behind the wheel – is definitely a step in the right direction.
What are your biggest on-the-road distractions? How do you stay focused and engaged while you’re driving?
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Safely Go, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. Safely Go is available for free from Google Play
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