iOS 11's Do Not Disturb While Driving Feature Is An Awesome Innovation

Apple's latest iPhone software, iOS 11, came to phones just last month, and users are still getting the hang of the software and its latest features. One feature that's getting its fair share of applause is iOS 11's Do Not Disturb While Driving feature, which mutes notifications while you're getting from Point A to Point B in order to help you keep your eyes on the road.

Once you've updated to iOS 11, your iPhone should show you a description of the safety feature after it's sensed that you may have been driving (and have safely stopped, of course) and ask if you'd like to switch it on. The description doesn't show up in all countries, but it's a feature that's available everywhere, so you can switch it on in your settings even if the description doesn't pop up.

If you do switch on the Do Not Disturb While Driving option, your iPhone will stop showing you notifications every time it connects to your car's Bluetooth or senses that you might be driving (using motion detection and network connectivity). You can choose to have the feature activate when it connects to your car, when it notices you driving automatically, or when you switch the feature on in your iPhone's Control Center.

Once you've turned the feature on, your screen won't even light up when you get a notification, helping keep distractions entirely off while you drive. If someone sends you a message, they'll get an auto-reply letting them know that you're on the road. If it's an emergency of any kind, they can type back "Urgent," which will trigger a notification on your end. You can then either pull over to read their message or have Siri read it aloud to you (Thanks, Siri!).

Whether calls come through or not depends on the settings you choose. You can choose to let all calls from your pre-selected "Favorites" contacts through, or allow a call to come through if someone calls twice in a row (it must be important, right?). If you've already got a hands-free option set up in your car via Bluetooth, don't worry: calls will just come in normally.

If you're a passenger and have the feature switched on, your notifications will turn off as well — but simply click the "I'm not driving" option on your screen in order to disable it.

Like most iOS features, you can customize your Do Not Disturb While Driving feature to fit your needs. Not only can you edit your auto-reply, but you can choose who is worthy of getting that auto-reply (anyone who texts you? Family only? Your boss? Your choice!). You can also select whose calls can come through.

The feature is a blessing for parents whose kids are just getting behind the wheel, as well. Using the "restricted" section in their kids' phone settings, parents can lock in their preferred Do Not Disturb While Driving settings, ensuring their children stay safe on the road.

In recent years, studies have found that between 25 percent to 52 percent of all car crashes are due to cell phone use. Every day, around 660,000 people use their cell phones while driving, and distracted driving was responsible for over 3,400 deaths and 391,000 injuries in 2015 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It's clear that something needs to change, and iOS 11's new Do Not Disturb While Driving feature is a step in the right direction.

Not an iPhone user? Never fear — a similar feature will be available on Google Pixel 2, bringing the same safety feature to Android users.

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