They are the mantras of defensive driving and driver's education courses – keep your hands at ten and two; hands on the wheel, eyes on the road. Those common-sense instructions are easy to remember and sound easy to do, but in today's always-connected world, most people do not turn off their phone when driving.
If safety isn't enough to persuade drivers to keep their hands on the wheel, the government wants to persuade them. New laws are popping up across the United States and in many other countries that make texting or talking on a phone in your hand while driving illegal, threatening stiff fines for anyone caught. Fortunately, there are plenty of products on the market to help make driving safer and keep your hands on the wheel.
There are three basic types of devices; car kits, in-car systems, and headsets. All of these allow you to answer and make calls without ever touching your phone. Some devices work through voice recognition, meaning you never even have to touch the device—truly hands-free operation.
You can retrofit any car with a Bluetooth® enabled car kit that you simply pair with your phone. Most cost less than $100, making them an affordable way to do hands-free calling in your car.
At the other end of the cost spectrum, most new cars now offer a Bluetooth enabled hands-free system as standard or optional equipment. Systems vary from one manufacturer to the next and may include flat-panel displays, call buttons on the steering wheel, and so on. The best hands-free systems offer simple phone pairing, easy-to-hear phone conversations through your car's speakers, and intuitive call buttons on your steering wheel. Some can even import your contacts, appointments, texts, etc. from your phone to view on your car's display. You can often phone contacts with a voice command — just by saying "Phone home," for example.
Before the advent of hands-free calling devices that clip onto your visor or come built into your car, Bluetooth enabled headsets were the only way to have a hands-free call. They're still the most popular method of hands-free calling, since so many people already own a Bluetooth enabled headset. You can also use your headset anywhere — not just in your car.