Smartphone on the Road: Five Apps That Can Make Your Teen a Better Driver

Guest Post by Cynthia Tyson. Cynthia is a stay-at-home mom with a background in social media and public relations.

You don’t often see the words “smartphone,” “teen,” and “driving” all in the same sentence. At least, not in a positive way. As much as smartphones can be detrimental to safety on the road, they can also help teens become better and safer drivers in the long run. So, if you want to bribe your teen into safer driving, make sure he or she downloads the following apps before you even think about looking at used cars for the holidays.Photo for Apps

1. Drive Safe.ly (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows – Free)

This handy mobile app helps prevent distracted driving by reading text messages and emails aloud in real time. Drive Safe.ly even responds automatically to these messages without drivers having to even touch the phone. These automated messages can be customized according to different needs, so teens can write messages like “On the way!” for specific text senders. One-touch activation makes setup a breeze, while a flexible design ensures compatibility with Bluetooth and radio transmitters.

2. Drive Safe Mode (iOS, Android – Free)

Using special sensory technology to detect the movement of the car, Drive Safe Mode turns off all alerts to eliminate distractions completely. No more reminding your teen to turn off her phone or put it in the backseat. Drive Safe Mode literally puts his phone on lockdown and even sends out alerts and reports if the user tries to disable the lock. Now you can be sure your rules are enforced even after he pulls out of the driveway. Even while driving, the app allows emergency calls to 911 and Mom and Dad just in case.

3. DriveScribe (iOS, Android – Free)

Perfect for new drivers, DriveScribe can be your teen’s personal driving instructor when you’re not in the car. The app monitors speed, blocks texts and calls, and delivers real-time voice feedback to improve your teen’s driving. The driver will not only receive an alert about driving mistakes but also designated friends or family members via text message and/or email. Mistakes can include excessive speed, running a stop sign and hard braking. After each driving session, data is stored, monitored and analyzed in comprehensive metrics that make it easier to gauge progress.

4. CarSafe (Android – Free)

Developed by researchers from Dartmouth’s Smartphone Sensing Group, CarSafe is a high-tech app that uses dual-camera, motion-sensing power to detect risky driving behaviors like distraction and drowsiness. The front camera records data about the driver, while the back camera keeps track of environmental conditions. After analyzing this data, the app will alert the driver about these risks with screen icons and audible warnings. Risky behavior ranges from tired eyes to a too-close proximity to the car ahead.

5. Steer Clear (iOS, Android – Free)

State Farm created the Steer Clear mobile app as part of a program for reinforcing positive driving behavior for young drivers. Drivers under age 25 can complete the Steer Clear Safe Driver Discount Program to earn discounts on State Farm auto insurance, so safe driving can literally pay off. The app logs driving experiences and offers tips for safer driving in varying weather conditions. Teens can even use the app to watch videos and learn from the experiences of other drivers. A built-in Find an Agent feature also makes it easy to contact your State Farm Agent for general questions or to make a claim.

Medication Adherence Smartphone App.

Introduction

The day starts off great. In spite of only a few hours of fitful sleep I’m up and about and off to a breakfast meeting. Towards the conclusion of my breakfast meeting it occurs to me, “I didn’t take my medications.” I make a mental note to take them as soon as I get home – but forget (yup, I’m a forgetful person). Soon enough its time for my lunch meeting – which is just grand as well – but by the time its over I can feel that something is off. What is going on? Why do I feel so something? It isn’t fatigue – though it kind of feels sleepy, it isn’t depression – though it is a bit angst-ridden. “You didn’t take your medications.” As soon as the thought enters my head I know the cause of my distress and I understand why I’ve felt sluggish between meeting this morning – and while I am feeling sluggish now. I drive home and as I enter the house I scold myself, “No! Don’t do anything…no bathroom, no mail, no taking off your coat – go take your medications!” I know I have a long day ahead of me and if I don’t take my medications now I will be miserable for the rest of the day – which in turn makes me less-than-optimally-productive.

Tablets and Patches of Clonidine
Tablets and Patches of Clonidine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All this to say – its time for me to get a smartphone app (yes, I live by my smartphone – which has my Bible, calendar, email, internet, text messaging, weight loss, todo list, gps, and yes, even solitaire, to keep me going throughout the day) that will annoy me until I take my medications each day. So, as usual, I’ve decided to share my research with the world wide web – and hopefully others will find this research helpful and we can all get back about our more-productive and wholesome days.

MediSafe Project

The first medication adherence application I came upon is amazing (there website including links to downloading the app is www.medisafeproject.com). I’ll probably do more research eventually – but for right now I already have the app. installed and am using it and it is working wonderfully. It is available for both the iPhone and Android and has a low-tech solution in the works (to be released this year) for those who don’t have smart phones. Lets talk for a moment about the app’s awesomeness:

  • Can handle multiple medications per day at different times of the day.
  • Allows you to setup a refill reminder that will automatically warn you a few days before you run out of pills.
  • Allows you to add a caretaker who will be notified if you fail to take your pills.
  • Offers a barcode reader which can read many medications and add them automatically.
  • Is highly customizable:
    • How many minutes between snoozing each reminder alarm?
    • How many are the maximum number of alarms you should receive?
    • What sound do you want to use? Do you want the phone to vibrate?
    • Create and manage caretakers.
    • Create and manage additional users – e.g. if you have children who you want to track medications for in addition to self.
  • Offers reporting on compliance which can be exported to an excel document.

Improvements?

This app is so awesome it stands on its own, but if I could have a few dream improvements they would include:

  • The upcoming low-tech feature, as a lot of elderly people don’t have smartphones and oftentimes really need this sort of application.
  • The ability for bi-directional communication with the pharmacy (if desired) so that refills are available for pickup / mailed to ensure no lapses in medication.
  • Option for phone lockout until medication has been taken.
  • Option to lock the settings so that individuals who might accidentally or purposefully misconfigure settings would be unable to do so.
  • Ability to share on Facebook. Yeah, I don’t really want to share if I take my medications on Facebook every day – but once in a while I would to help promote medisafe.