Talking on a wireless phone while driving is banned in 15 states and 38 states have restrictions for wireless phone use by novice drivers.1In an attempt to decrease accidents caused by distracted driving Washington State has passed a law that severely limits the use of personal electronic devices. Under this new law, the “minimal use of a finger to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function of the device” is all that is allowed, even when stopped at a red light. These stricter laws as well as steeper fines make now the perfect time to consider what hands-free option will work best for you.
Bluetooth Hands-Free Kits
Bluetooth Hands-Free Car Kits come in two main types, universal and vehicle-specific. Vehicle-specific units are an excellent choice if you like all of the features your current stereo has and are only interested in adding Bluetooth for phone calls and streaming audio. It is also a great option if you would like to maintain your vehicles factory look.
The down side to vehicle-specific hands-free kits is that your factory stereo controls are not specifically designed to control your wireless phone through the OEM display. This limitation causes many people to use their cell phone to dial out, browse contacts, and other audio functions which can be distracting, and in some areas may not adhere to local distracted driving laws. Another issue you may run into is that it may be difficult to locate a Bluetooth module for your particular vehicle, in which case you may want to take a look at a universal Bluetooth solution.
Universal Bluetooth Options
Universal Bluetooth car kits like the Parrot MKI9200 are a good option if you are unable to locate a vehicle-specific Bluetooth module. The Parrot MKI9200 and similar devices come with a display that is typically mounted in the center console area or on your dashboard. The 2.4” color display allows you to browse your phone book and music information such as playlists, artist, song and more.
You may also want to combine your Hands-free car kit with a cell phone mount. A cell phone mount is typically attached to your dashboard, windshield, rear view mirror, or attached to your climate control vent. For example, the Washington State distracted driving law that took effect July 23rd, 2017; does not allow you to hold onto your wireless phone while driving, which makes a wireless phone mount an essential addition if you do not have another way to operate your device completely hands-free. A cell phone mount is also a good option if you would like to view features such as navigation while driving.
The Navdy Head-Up Display unit with GPS Navigation works by projecting the display into the distance in front of your vehicle to keep the road in focus while you are driving. Navdy is the world’s first augmented reality driving device and aftermarket Head-Up Display (HUD) unit with navigation. Navdy allows you to accept, dismiss, or return a phone call with the swipe of a hand.
One feature of Navdy that greatly assists in going hands-free is the Navdy Dial. The Navdy Dial is designed to attach to your steering wheel and control many of your cell phone features. You can spin the dial to scroll through your settings and tap the center button to select an option, a contact, play a song and more. For a truly hands-free experience, just press and hold the Navdy dial to activate Siri or Google Now voice commands.
The Navdy dial coupled with your wireless phone voice commands and all of the features that go along with it make the Navdy Head-Up Display units an excellent option if you are looking to go truly hands-free.
Aftermarket Stereo with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
Installing an aftermarket stereo with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto provides the best combination of features, safety, and hands-free convenience if you are looking to connect your wireless phone to your car audio system.
Apple CarPlay enabled receivers, allow you to control many of the features on your iPhone completely hands-free through Siri voice commands. To activate Siri through a CarPlay enabled receiver, just press the voice activation button on the touch screen display and give the appropriate command. Some of the features you can activate using voice commands include Apple Music, Apple Maps, messaging, phone calls and more!
Android Auto works in a similar way, using data from your wireless phone to connect to your favorite features and apps. The main difference is Android Auto is for Android phones, and CarPlay is for iPhones. This difference is the reason why Android Auto uses Google maps for GPS and Google Now for voice commands instead of Apple Maps and Siri.
Both CarPlay and Android Auto are compelling tools that allow you to keep your hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road while still enabling you to utilize many important features on your wireless phone. If you are looking to add features like navigation, Bluetooth calling, wireless music streaming, access to your favorite apps, or outputs for adding audio enhancements like amplifiers and subwoofers, an aftermarket stereo is typically your best option.
With increasing dependence on wireless devices, more distractions than ever, and more stringent hands-free device laws having been passed going hands-free with your wireless device is more important now than ever. From Bluetooth hands-free kits to Android Auto and CarPlay receivers Car Toys has options in every price range. So stop by your local store today where our team of experts will be happy to assist with all of your hands-free and car electronics needs!
1 Preventing Driveway Tragedies