We all know that talking and/or texting while driving is a forbidden. So, what’s a busy mobile phone user to do? Obviously, there have been a smorgasbord of hands-free products out there that have been making it possible to use the mobile phone while the automobile operator has two hands on the wheel. I’ve always been on the fence about hands-free devices like the Bluetooth, mobile speakerphones and plug-in mobile phones that make “driving while talking” possible.
Sometimes hands-free devices have been OK for me and sometimes they have been a distraction. I have come to some conclusions about using hands-free devices. If one is having a light-hearted conversation while driving, well — that seems to work. After all, if one is “just chatting,” then chances are the mind does not have to take down pertinent information at that moment thus taking the driver’s eyes off of the roadway. Provided that a light-hearted conversation is solely on the phone while the radio, TV and/or GPS is not being used, then “just chatting” is OK. However, if one is engaged in a heavy conversation, then the mind is competing with the driving which, as we all know, it not optimal. Yes, that’s just heavy conversation and driving. I shudder to think about additional distractions. I’m sure there have been thousands of “driving while talking” tests, simulations and studies, so certainly my own conclusions on the subject are nothing new.
What is new in the arena of “driving while talking” is CarPlay. CarPlay is a new application from the folks over at Apple who will make it possible to plug in an iPhone 5, 5c and 5s into an automobile so that one can, “get directions, make calls, send and receive messages and listen to music,” according to the company.
Of course, the “beta-testers” — as I enjoy calling consumers who immediately buy new products before most folks — will be able to use CarPlay in automobiles like Volvos, Ferraris and Mercedes Benzes. Others car manufacturers are sure to follow with the CarPlay app including BMW, Ford and General Motors. Well after the CarPlay roll-out there could be Wi-Fi accessibility making it possible to use older iPhone models with CarPlay. You can bet that both Google and Microsoft will come up with their own “car apps” not too far after CarPlay premieres.
While the advance in technology is exciting, I’m still concerned that CarPlay will open up a Pandora’s box of too many folks adding more distractions while operating a car. Certainly in this multi-tasking world, the app is a godsend. I suppose that there’s a silver lining in all of this in that we are always evolving. This means that as technology performs more for us in cheaper and convenient ways, our brains are evolving right along with these developments. Still, I wonder if we will all be able to optimally drive, text, listen to music, watch TV, get directions and set the car’s thermostat while speaking with a car passenger and ordering a Happy Meal in a drive-thru. Ah, technology – you got to love it!