It worked rather well, but the key is remembering to turn on SafeDrive each time, which can get annoying. The best method is to use the Android Wear app. While the overall goal of Safe Drive is to keep you off your phone. A button will launch Waze if you want a fast way to get into navigation. If you’re a fan of the social driving service. This gives you a quick way to check out the traffic. Then put your phone down and leave it in distraction-free mode. When you finish the journey, you’ll see your reward totals, but the redemption options are somewhat limited. You can get discounts on random items like a car phone mount or a smart light socket. It’s not tremendously compelling; there definitely needs to be some more goodies on offer.

Drivemode Makes Your Phone Driver Friendly

Instead of explicitly trying to get you off your phone, Drivemode tries to make the interface so simple and gesture-oriented that you won’t need to look at it while driving. The app throws a semi-circle-shaped tab on your home screen that you can use to quickly launch into driver mode. The app smartly uses an Android Wear app for this purpose. So you don’t even have to fiddle with your phone to get started. Swipe through for actions like maps; select a default, music, or call a specific contact. I liked the customization options. I could set up particular contacts who can get through when the app is enabled while others can be ignored. Drivemode also reads messages and generates an auto-reply. However, Google’s default robo-voice still sounds like a robot being forced to read messages against her will. Fortunately, you can resize the Drivemode Tab. The default choice, puts an annoying bulge on the left side of your screen. You’ll launch into the safe screen when you slide it to the right. My favorite part was that Drivemode learns your destinations. So it’s much faster to launch navigation from one of the auto presets. Otherwise, it’s easy to learn where the main features are. So you can quickly swipe to navigation, maps, or contact without much screen time.

Drive Safe is for Easy Auto Reply

Drive Safe is the simplest of the bunch, but if you want an app that puts your phone in do not disturb mode and sends an auto-reply to texts, it’s a good option. You can customize a message to send to your contacts or use the default script. When I pressed the giant button. Drive Safe also put my Nexus 6 in the do not disturb mode that only let alarms through. This functionality may differ depending on your device, but the benefit was that I didn’t get pinged when texts arrived. While this app doesn’t offer the same customization as the others, that’s the point. Sometimes you want a dead simple operation that does the job well for this purpose.

Messagealoud Does the Talking

Listening to something can be distracting too, but at least with Messagealoud, you won’t be tempted to look at your email texts since the app will read them to you. Messagealoud is a good nanny. If you try to text, it will kick you out of the messaging app. And send you back to the app’s screen. No electric shock has been employed, but maybe that’s a good idea. There are a few customization options. Which I found helpful in picking which of my contacts I wanted to let through the firewall. The app will read the ones from those you greenlight and stay mum for the others. It does an admirable job reading text and emails. I find it burdensome with the latter. Since the subject line and other non-narrative aspects of an email don’t translate well. But if you’re dying to hear who messaged you, this might keep the phone out of your hand.

The Future is Smarter Cars

When I tried all these services, I couldn’t help but feel like they were all excellent solutions, but the real fix was with Android Auto. Even with simple gestures or text message announcements on your phone. You’re still at risk of fumbling for it and glancing away from the road. Android Auto essentially fixes this by putting critical information on your dashboard screen. Yes, you’ll still need self-control to keep your eyes on the road. But the software does some of this by disabling certain functions. And because it’s right in front of you, there’s less potential to ultimately turn away from driving. This process reaffirmed for me how important this issue is. No text, email, or call I received while trying these apps out was worth the possibility of a wreck. So while these solutions may help you stay focused. The one with the real power to make that happen is you.