Reducing Distracted Driving

This photo was safely taken from the backseat of a car.

This photo was safely taken from the backseat of a car.

How to turn Do Not Disturb Mode into Driving Mode in iOS

Mobile phones do a lot of good but they can also be harmful, especially while driving. The solution seems easy (put your phone away while you’re behind the wheel) but it’s difficult in practice.

Luckily, there’s something already on your phone that can help. With about a minute of setup, two taps after that and a bit of habit you can be safer in the car. Do Not Disturb was introduced in iOS 6 to silence calls, alerts and notifications but using a certain combination of settings for Do Not Disturb can make for a temporary Driving Mode until a better solution arrives.

This combination of settings will allow you to use block most notifications, allow you to still receive calls in an emergency and use your navigation and music apps.

Setup

To set up Do Not Disturb for driving tap  Settings > Do Not Disturb .

To set up Do Not Disturb for driving tap Settings > Do Not Disturb.

To start setting up Do Not Disturb as Driving Mode tap Settings > Do Not Disturb. There are five settings on this screen.

The first setting is Manual. This is one way to enable or disable Do Not Disturb. When enabled, calls and alerts received while the device is locked will be silenced.

The second setting is Scheduled. It’s not important for setting up Driving Mode.

The third setting is Allow Calls From. Set this to Favorites.
This allows calls to come through from a group of people you specify even while Do Not Disturb (Driving Mode) is turned on. This support article from Apple explains how to add contacts to Favorites. Use this for your family, your significant other or other important contacts like a doctor’s office or the vet.

The fourth setting is Repeated Calls. Set this to Enabled.
This allows a second call from the same person within three minutes to come through. It’s an extra level of assurance that in an emergency you can still be contacted. However, it’s important that you pull over to the side of the road if you need to take a call.

The last setting is Silence. Set this to Always.
This prevents notifications from showing up on the screen when your device is unlocked. It’s handy if you use your phone for music or navigation while driving.

That’s it. Do Not Disturb is now Driving Mode. You shouldn’t need to change these settings again.

Using Drive Mode

From Control Center you can turn on Do Not Disturb by tapping the moon icon.

From Control Center you can turn on Do Not Disturb by tapping the moon icon.

Now that Driving Mode is set up you need to build a habit around your driving. Thankfully it’s a pretty easy one that doesn’t even involve unlocking your phone. Whenever you get in your car just wake your phone, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access Control Center and then tap the moon icon to turn on Do Not Disturb (Driving Mode). If you forget to turn it on and you start receiving notifications while driving you can quickly pull over and enable it.

The hardest part about this will be remembering to turn Do Not Disturb mode on. If you’re having a lot of trouble you can leave yourself a note on the dash of the car.

The moon icon in the status bar shows that Do Not Disturb is enabled.

The moon icon in the status bar shows that Do Not Disturb is enabled.

Once you arrive at your destination simply wake your phone, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access Control Center and then tap the moon icon to turn off Do Not Disturb (Driving Mode). If you forget to turn off Do Not Disturb mode when you leave your car you may notice a moon icon in the status bar. Just swipe up from the bottom of the screen anywhere to access Control Center and turn off Do Not Disturb.

It’s not an elegant solution but it’s an attempt at one. Using our phones can be tempting while driving but the majority of the time it’s something that can wait until it’s much safer.

My thanks to the designer who inspired me to write this.

…Cars are overcomplicated and they should be free of distractions.
— Dieter Rams

Sources:
Add a Contact to Favorites by Apple
iOS on Wikipedia
My Lunch with Dieter Rams by Andrew Kim
Using Do Not Disturb by Apple