Posts Tagged ‘driving’

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.

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Watch screen capture

iPhone screen capture

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.

barkerp

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I was on my way to a meeting and ran into a detour on the highway that turned out to be a real milk-run thru a bunch of small towns.

I was thinking “hmmm, there must be a better route than this” and with the help of Maps on my iPhone I found one that probably shaved a good 20 mins, lots of highway traffic, and a few kilometers off my trip.

Its one of those preloaded Apps on your iPhone that doesn’t get the use it could, at least not from me and a few others I have asked about it.  You don’t even have to worry about keying in where you are going or where you are leaving from if you don’t want, just click the little arrow on the lower left corner and let your iPhone find you.  Give it a few seconds to zoom in on you and you’ll see yourself as a little blue pulsing dot.

For me all I needed to do was the finger spreading motion on the screen to zoom out (pinching zooms in btw) and I could see where it was I wanted to go in relation to where I was.  A little panning and zooming and it was evident that the EDR (Emergency Detour Route) that was sign posted was not going to make my trip any quicker than just continuing along the road I was already on for a bit further.  You can even watch the blue-light to see how close you are getting to the road you are looking for.  It was dead on where I needed to turn.

Sure you can always use the App to map out your journey ahead of time and you will see a route highlighted for you to follow, but sometimes when life throws you a curve, like an expected detour on the highway for instance, its nice to be able to see in real-time where you are and plan an alternate route easily.

Sure its not a true GPS that gives you alerts about road closures for instance, and it won’t let you know about road conditions, but sometimes all you need is a map to let you get back on the right track and this App will do that quite nicely without having to struggle with refolding it after.

tcg

The stupidity of some people never ceases to amaze me.

This post began with a rant or two on Twitter after i noticed AGAIN a person driving while texting, which in case you are not from around here is against the law as well as being extremely dangerous and stupid.

Let me back up a bit.  I was heading home at lunchtime, and as usual I just wanted to get where I was heading and not waste time in the car on such a beautiful day.  I’m sitting at the traffic lights, waiting for it to change. When it eventually did it seemed the car in front was extremely slow to turn the corner.   It was one of those things that really annoyed me because as i drove behind the barely-old-enough-to-drive-newbie-driver i noticed she was slow to change gears, turn the next corner, or accelerate.  After watching her turn into the wrong lane on a right turn, i turned into the proper lane and while passing her noticed she was holding her phone and texting as she drove.  It ticked me off to see such a blantant disregard for the law, which was put in place precisely for people just like her.  I needed to vent, so i fired off a tweet when i stopped at the bank.

After my brief assertion to the world, I continued along on my way home and was thinking it’s too bad there isn’t anything the average joe (or jane) can do in such a situation. which prompted the question…

I think i might be getting in trouble with the law if i started make accusations about drivers and tweeting their license plates, but it is very tempting to do so.  It seems to me that the fine if you are caught is not enough of a deterrent for most, either that or people think they can’t be seen.  I’ve actually seen drivers using their cel phones at night where you can see the glow lighting up the side of their face.  Aside from the fact it’s illegal to drive and use a handheld device, there is the reason for the law in the first place, the danger of it all.  In talking with a co-worker i was reminded that MythBusters did a story about it (back in 2005, episode 33 actually) in which they concluded that…

“Driving while talking on a cell phone is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.  CONFIRMED

Both Adam and Kari failed a general-purpose road safety test while talking on a cell phone and while driving drunk, with cell phones by a wider margin. However, Adam commented that one can easily put away a cell phone if necessary, but not simply become sober as needed.”

I’d have to agree, whether it is texting, talking, or reading an email, any kind of distraction is potentially dangerous, and one that takes your eyes off the road for any length of time makes the driver a moving hazard to everyone on the road not only themselves.  I don’t think that going handsfree is the answer either, sure it takes away part of the problem, but if you are overly distracted by a phone conversation while driving, you will end up in an accident anyway, but at least you’ll have your hands in the proper 10 and 2 position.

Do what i do, put the phone in the cup holder and just let your calls go to voicemail.  Instead of being distracted, you may end up noticing more of the world around you, and see parts of it you’ve been missing, instead of missing exits.

tcg