“Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves” – Albert Einstein.
Paying attention. It is the most important thing to practice while driving, and often times hard to do, especially on a long drive, or an overly familiar one where your mind tends to wander. The laws are trying to encourage it, and enforce it, but we all need to ignore the distractions around us, even the pretty girls. Sorry Albert.
Technology can help with this, if used properly.
I drive a lot for work, going to new places all the time is one of the perks of the business, (if you like driving and exploring this vast country we live in) and quite often I forget to put the address into my car’s Nav system before leaving the office. It is still a new-ish toy to me and I forget you can’t add an address once the vehicle is moving, so sometimes I rely on my phone to let me know where to go. Other times I pull over and key in the address and use the Navigation system.
Today was one of those times I figured I’d just use my iPhone, and as it turns out also my Apple Watch, which I didn’t even know was a feature. Driving along, I stopped long enough to click on the notification on my phone telling me of the meeting and the address and it launched “Maps” showing me where to go and how long, etc. and headed on my merry way. Not too far along I felt the now familiar tapping on my wrist from my watch. Assuming it was just a text message or my watch telling me it was time to stand up I didn’t think much of it. Then again, as I neared my next turn, same thing.
I glanced over at my watch to see a very simple notification telling me of my upcoming turn, and ETA. Cool. The interface is simple enough a glance is all you need. That is not to say the latest update to the Maps App for iOS is not well laid out itself, but having the info on your wrist is pretty sweet, and less distracting.
As I said, the watch lets you know when a change in direction is coming up, or as may be, a choice in direction is coming up and the app tells you to keep going the direction you are going. Sometimes those notifications can be extremely annoying when traveling along a highway and constantly being told to keep going where you were heading like some sort of robotic backseat driver “continue on highway for 3 kms”, but I digress.
When I first thought of getting a smartwatch, honestly I did wonder how much I would use it, and how much I was getting one just because it was cool tech and I didn’t have it. (seeing the keynote about the Apple Watch Series 2 pretty much hooked me)
I had stopped wearing a regular watch around the same time I started carrying a cell phone in my pocket. Seemed silly to me to wear something that really only provided one purpose. Well, two if you include the date function, which by the way, if I ever forget what day it is and I’m not retired already or on vacation, put me out to pasture. But anyway, having a smartwatch actually makes sense for me, since there are many times my phone is either not in my pocket (at the office for one, around the house for another) or it is in my pocket but not convenient to access, for instance when driving, working outside, or on a job site. Often the notifications are all that is needed, and no or minimal interaction is required. Driving is a perfect example of this, and anything that can be done to keep attention on the road is a good thing. The watch OS does a good job of this, and I can’t wait to see how it evolves, along with how many other ways the minimalistic approach of working with a smaller screen changes how we interact with technology.
Not to mention it is just cool tech, and in my opinion, smartwatches will become as standard as the iPhone has become. Integrated into our lives so completely that in a couple of years we will wonder how we ever got along without them.
Getting back to good old Albert Einstein, who knew he was such a player.