Use Your Cell Phone Lawfully with these 3 Life Hacks
Don’t get caught, be smart and stay safe
It's common knowledge not to use a cell phone while driving. But this reckless—though common—behavior is now also officially illegal. Yes, you read that right. Under the new law Republic Act 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act, “Using a mobile communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication or to make or receive calls, [and] using an electronic entertainment or computing device to play games, watch movies, surf the Internet, compose messages, read e-books, perform calculations and other similar acts” are all considered distracted driving—a fineable offense whether your vehicle is in motion or stopped at a red light. But with a 2016 report from the World Health Association claiming that driving under the influence of always-on technology (namely a cellular phone) makes you four times more likely to be involved in a crash—and with vehicular accidents being one of the leading causes of accidental death in the country, the hefty fine may be the least costly alternative.
Still, we get it: it’s hard to fully unplug when your cell phone is practically an extended limb. Not ready to go completely off-grid for the length of a usually long commute? Here’s how to stay safe, stay legal and connected.
Buy a dash mount.
It doesn’t cost much to decrease your phone distraction and increase driving safety; even the unbranded tiangge models can be life-changing. They keep your phone within reach for emergencies and reduce the risk of it sliding to the floor or into car crevices (read: McDreamy death). If you’re looking for form as well as function, check out the Spigen Magnetic Air Vent Mount (P800) or one of the highly rated Scosche MagicMount Pro models (starts at P1495), which securely mounts your phone at vent- or dash-level, keeping your view unobstructed and limiting the temptation to check your makeup or your Facebook timeline at the stoplight.
Plan and program your drives with Waze.
The popular navigation and traffic app has a handy feature you may not be aware of: it allows you to key in future destinations as well as the time you’d like to arrive there by. You can also turn on calendar syncing so all your appointments with addresses are automatically programmed in. Then, it not only reminds you when it’s time to go depending on traffic conditions, it can also sense when you begin driving in that direction and automatically begins the trip navigation, which you can confirm with a tap. Be sure the voice-assist option is switched on so you can keep your focus on the road.
Automate mobile tasks with IF.
Want to stay online even when your phone is safely stowed away? IF, short for its previous name If This Then That (IFFT), is a smartphone automation app that allows you to create “recipes” for pre-programmed triggers and their corresponding actions. In this case, the recipe would be, if you exit a specified location, like your home or office parking lot (the Trigger), then IF will tell your phone to post a status on Facebook or Twitter (the Action), or send an SMS that says you’re on your way (via the GroupMe app, downloadable separately for iOS and Android). Or better yet, it can put your phone on mute for a truly distraction-free drive because, really, what you don’t know (an incoming call or text) won’t hurt you.