Lying to my iPhone: Driving with “Do Not Disturb While Driving”

I have a confession to make: I’ve been lying to my iPhone.

I never thought I would be in situation, or that one could even exist. To be clear, I’m not spreading lies via my phone, I’m lying to the actual device itself.

What am I talking about? iOS 11’s new Do Not Disturb While Driving mode.

The setting turns on when you get into your car, triggered either by your movement or when it connects to your car’s Bluetooth. When I get an iMessage, it sends an automated response that I’ll get back when I reach my destination. If it’s important, they can reply “urgent” and the message will come through.

So how do I lie? When I’m stopped at a light or stuck in traffic and try to do something on my phone, the screen prompts me to confirm “I’m Not Driving.”

Yes, I know it can probably wait, and it’s likely not safe to use my phone even while I’m not moving. But I do it anyways out of years of habit and maybe an unhealthy urge to scratch the itch of “what’s happening right now?”

The setting is actually very amazing and has my favorite part of testing the iOS update. After installing the first Public Beta while on a road trip this summer to see some King Crimson concerts, it immediately changed how I drive.

It had a strange calming effect: no more was I interrupted by the countless notifications from my phone. I wasn’t wondering what the vibration was or if I was missing something vital. I knew that if the message was important, it was on who sent the message to push it through.

Over the summer, nothing was marked “urgent.” Mostly, friends ask me what app I’m using because they want to have it as well. I’m interested to see how many people adopt this with iOS 11’s release today. I hope the setting will save lives and prevent crashes.

It also made me realize how often I’ve used my phone while driving, even though I thought I was pretty good at keeping it down. But I would want to snap a picture of the sunrise, change music or enter am address for GPS directions. I’ve found having an Apple Watch helps, but there are things I’m still grabbing the phone for.

So I’ve lied dozens of times this summer to my phone, but have most likely even distracted hundreds of times less. It’s going to take time to break this habit, but Do Not Disturb While Driving is a great reminder to keep the phone down as it is blocking notifications.

I’m sorry, Siri, let’s leave those beta days of lies behind and move on to something official.

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