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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is Distracted Driving Awareness month which was introduced after an increase in accidents, caused from people using mobile phones, being distracted by touchscreens and other in-vehicle technologies.

Touchscreen technology was designed to allow the driver to manage their music, apps and satellite navigation from their display, rather than using their phone, but this still problematic in keeping drivers focused on the road.

As vehicles enhance their technologies to create a better driving experience, it’s important to treat this technology as it is intended for, without creating a distraction for yourself or others.

Hyundai have recently taken steps to enhance their technology to allow the driver to focus entirely on the road ahead, without having the temptation to pick up their phone or scroll through a music playlist.

All brand-new Hyundai models now come with Bluelink, which allows the driver to utilise voice commands to control their car, rather than touchscreen technology. This works by connecting a smartphone via Bluetooth. Bluelink Connected Car Services are available to all customers who choose the new optional onboard AVN system that comes with 10.25-inch split touchscreen.

A car that comes packed with technology can often be overwhelming for drivers, as they attempt to change the climate controls or navigate their route on the satellite navigation system whilst also trying to drive safely.

Voice technology has helped reduce road traffic incidents immensely versus alternative touchscreen technology. A recent study published by UK’s Transport Research Laboratory, shows that driver distraction levels are much higher when using touchscreens compared to voice technology. Some of the key findings of the study were:

  • Participants underestimated the time they spent looking away from the road in-front when engaging with touchscreen technology.
  • Controlling the vehicle’s position in the lane and keeping a consistent speed and headway to the vehicle in front suffered significantly when interacting with either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, particularly when using touch control.
  • Participants failed to react more often to a stimulus on the road ahead when engaging with either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay compared with a control drive.

The study came about on the back of concerns around the increase in use of infotainment systems which have potential to become a driver distraction, thus impacting road safety.

There are different types of driver distractions; cognitive, visual and physical, all of which have the ability to negatively impact driver performance.

Top 3 Tips for preventing driver distraction.

1. Utilise Voice Control – If your car has the ability to set up voice control, make sure this is your preferred method to control your vehicle. Voice control means you can stay visually focussed on the road ahead.

2. Connect to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto – If you are prone to reaching for your phone whilst driving, whether to read texts, make calls or switch music, you need to connect to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. This allows you to place your phone out of sight and utilise the touchscreen instead. This should always be used with safety at the forefront of your mind, and only when physically safe to do so (when stationary or parked up).

3. Plan your route – One of the main distractions in a vehicle is the satellite navigation system. Always plan your route before you set off, rather than trying to set the navigation going mid journey (unless using voice control).

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