It’s a commonly accepted fact that using a mobile phone whilst behind the wheel of a car can be an extremely dangerous choice to make. On average about six thousand deaths and a half a million injuries every year are caused by distracted drivers who are making use of their mobile devices.
Texting has recently been revealed to be one of, if not the worst instance of distracted drivers causing accidents in America. In a study which was conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) they concluded that: “Out of all cell phone related tasks, including talking, dialling, or reaching for the phone; texting while driving is the most dangerous.”
For a long time now “hands free” options have been available on phones to prevent exactly this, and by inserting the right kind of input into a phone and car, talking using a loudspeaker option and having the responses play back through the cars stereo is very effective at removing the distraction from mobile device usage.
But there for every new generation there is a new way of bettering the developments in problem solving, and with the growing popularity of apps reaching its peak there is a world of new road safety apps to be explored. Here’s a rundown of a small number of the most talked about road safety apps which are currently available:
First up is the iSpeech powered app called DriveSafe.ly, which has been widely praised in the media and recently won an award for “Best BlackBerry Office or Productivity App” from voters on the About.com website. The app is designed in a very simple manner to deliver very clear results. Like a hands free set it offers a practically distraction free use of your phone but also applies itself to texts and emails. By utilising a computer voice the DriveSafe.ly app can read your texts and emails out loud in real time, including short hand terms like “lol” and “asap”. The entire app can also be turned on and off with the touch of a single button, making it extremely quick and safe to operate. DriveSafe.ly has seriously upped the game in terms of road safety apps and won several awards as a result including the Mobile Apps Showdown at CES 2011, Best Mobile App of 2010 from Mashable.
Goodyear Road Safety App
Next up is the Goodyear Road Safety App which has been created by Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations S.A. This app is designed specifically towards British holiday makers and also it seems mostly for holidays in Europe. Having been designed by a team working for Dunlop and Goodyear the app is very smooth running and has an aesthetic which looks classically attractive. It also has a great advantage in that most of its functions will run completely without being connected to the internet, which makes using it in more remote areas possible. The Goodyear Road Safety App seems to have four main functions, and two extra functions which are added on for fun rather than functionality. The main functions are: A Country / Destination Information function which does almost exactly what it says on the tin. It provides simple local information on any one of twenty five European countries, most specifically road based rules and laws. Next it has a Driving Tips section which provides handy driving suggestions and tips from how best to tow a caravan, to travelling with kids and information on how to avoid “aquaplaning”. Following these there are two closely related sections; Emergency tips which provides (unsurprisingly) helpful solutions to emergency situations which the user might find themselves in whilst travelling aboard. The other is Emergency Phrases which provides the user with a set of emergency phrase translations in the top five most widely used European languages. It’s other options are a family holiday check list and a road sign quiz which is designed to keep everyone entertained on long drives.
Last but not least is the iOnRoad app which again has had rave reviews in general and has become very popular for its functionality and style. The iOnRoad app proves a number of different and interesting features, some of which are less related to raod safety than others. The first most notable feature is its “Advanced Collision Warning System” feature which works by inserting your smart phone into a holder postioned on the windscreen. The camera on your phone (this app doesn’t really function without a camera) then picks up images of the road and displays information about the world around you. It utilises an algorithm called “RoadAware” to recognize the traffic ahead and warn the user of potential accidents. When a dangerous situation is detected, the app warns the driver with audio and visual alerts. It also has a “Headway Distance Monitoring” feature which monitors your headway distance from other cars and gives the user constant visual readings and feedback. When the iOnRoad recognizes insufficient headway distance, it simply makes a subtle notification sound. It also has several other features which relate more closely to general time keeping and efficiency such as a car locator for when you park in a large car park or area. There is a “Safety Point Counter” which encourages safer driving by allowing the driver to accumulate safety points as they drive. The other most useful feature aside from the “Advanced Collision Warning System” is its SMS reader which is very similar to the main function of the DriveSafe.ly, and simply reads aloud texts received whilst driving allowing for much less distracted communication through SMS messaging.