Going hands-free with mobile technology is no longer optional, but rather, a necessity in many areas around the US. To help reduce distractions while driving, many cities have passed mobile device ordinances making it illegal to even hold your cell phone, GPS navigator, or other mobile device while operating a vehicle.
Last week, we discussed how important it is to make sure you pick up your phone when a customer calls. So how do you remain available to answer those calls while limiting distractions while driving from job to job?
Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard created to share data and audio over short distances. Not only will it allow you to answer calls, but you can also hear your phone’s navigation, as well as play music wirelessly through your car’s speakers!
If your vehicle was manufactured after 2008, chances are it has Bluetooth capabilities already built-in. If you carry a smartphone, Bluetooth tech is pretty much standard. You’ll want to double check the compatibility of your phone and your vehicle, but in most cases, connecting the two takes a set up of about 5 minutes and then you can safely answer calls through your car’s speakers. Many newer car models have controls directly on the steering wheel to make answering and placing a call safer than ever!
If your car is a bit older, have no fear! Many companies have made adapters that allow you to create a Bluetooth connection! Though with these you’ll be without features such as the button on your steering wheel, the connection will still allow you to remain mostly hands-free using personal assistant software for your smartphone.
If your car has a built-in aux or USB port, you can skip the Bluetooth all together and opt for a direct connection instead.
In conjunction with Bluetooth, your iPhone has a built-in personal assistant called Siri (requires an iPhone 4S or later capable of running iOS 5 or later) which can keep you hands and eyes free. Siri allows you to do a variety of things such as launch navigation for a particular address, launch a search, place a phone call, or listen to and respond to text messages, all at the flick of a button. Newer versions of iPhone and iOS even enabled a feature called “Hey Siri” which allows you to simply shout out “Hey Siri” to launch any of the supported features while keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
Also for iPhone, CarPlay was introduced in 2014 as a way to remain hands-free and eyes-free using Siri integrated technologies on select car models. If you’re fortunate enough to have one of these vehicles, most of the items you’d typically want to use your iPhone for become quickly accessible from the car’s built-in display. Using Siri’s technology, you can keep your eyes on the road, launching everything with “Hey Siri” or by clicking the Siri button that’s directly on your steering wheel!
Perhaps one of the most comprehensive personal assistants available, in addition to the basics like answering texts, placing calls, and launching apps, Dragon Mobile Assistant has an amazing hands free feature called Drive Mode. Drive Mode allows you to set a preference to automatically switch to a hands and eyes free mode when certain conditions are met to make sure you remain safe during the drive. Get it for free on Google Play!
Another big name in virtual assistant software for Android is Indigo. It too covers the basics, but it also is one of the only assistants to offer cross platform support. This means you can share notifications and alerts between Android and Windows. So if you use both an Android phone and a Windows tablet, you can stay productive without having to deal with duplicate notifications! Indigo is also available for free on Google Play.
With all of these options to stay hands free, why are you still holding your phone? Stay productive on the go with some of these great ways to eliminate distractions while you drive and keep it safe out there!
Have a favorite app or tool to keep you hands free in the car? Let’s us know in the comments below!