Lots of people use their smartphones while driving. Seven in ten are texting, taking selfies, and even using social media, according to a recent AT&T study. Government data show hundreds of people each year are killed in car accidents involving cell phones.
Consumer Reports checked out two new infotainment systems designed to work with your phone and your car so that drivers can keep their eyes on the road. They’re Apple CarPlay, compatible with the iPhone, and Android Auto, compatible with Android phones. Most carmakers will be offering both in their upcoming models.
The systems provide hands-free calling and texting. They also offer navigation that runs right off your phone, allowing you to access your addresses. And every time your phone’s software is upgraded, so is the system.
Another option is to mount your phone on the dashboard. You do get the same functionality; what you don’t get is the bigger screen and all of the integration into your car.
Consumer Reports’ electronics and auto experts found that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are still distracting, but they’re far less distracting than actually picking up your phone and using it while you drive.
Both systems will be in many cars soon, including the 2016 Chevy Tahoe, Volkswagen Jetta, and Cadillac ATS.
One downside of using any infotainment system that’s connected to your phone: data usage. Navigation and streaming music such as Pandora or Spotify all eat away at your data plan.