‘Do Not Disturb’ while driving

It’s a smart phone that can protect you from itself.

Because while most of the time your phone makes life better by keeping you connected and helping you access vital information on the go, using it while driving can be deadly. A moment’s distraction while you take your eyes off the road to check your screen can be enough to cause a fatal crash.

Using the built-in Do Not Disturb While Driving features on your phone is a good idea because no matter how great your intentions, sometimes it’s hard to have the self-control to ignore those alerts as they come flooding in. Phone-use can be literally addictive, with research comparing it to other common dependencies, so taking advantage of easy-to-use features that put yours out of action while you’re driving is a no-brainer.


If you have an iPhone with iOS 15 or later, your phone can sense when you might be driving and prevent notifications being sent (it uses a number of signals to suss this out including the iPhone’s accelerometer, the rate at which it finds and loses nearby Wi-Fi networks, and GPS).

Enable the feature by going into Settings and selecting Focus, select the addition button on the top right corner and then select Driving. Customise focus and choose between; automatically, when connected to car Bluetooth and manually.

While it’s activated, notifications will be muted and contacts who send you messages will get a reply letting them know you’re driving. Your alerts will be waiting for you once the mode switches off.

You can allow calls to come through from your Favourites, and you can allow calls if the same person calls twice in a row. If you’ve selected Bluetooth, calls will come through as usual.


For Android, you can quickly enable Do Not Disturb mode by swiping down from the top of your screen to open the notification shade, and select the Do Not Disturb icon.  A quick tap will enable Do Not Disturb using your predefined settings.

To make changes, long tap on the Do Not Disturb icon to go into the Settings menu where you’ll see three sections: Behaviour, Exceptions, and Schedule. (You can also arrive here by tapping on the Settings gear icon in the notification drawer, then tapping on Sound > Do Not Disturb).The Behaviours section gives two options, Sound and Vibration and Notifications. The first allows you to choose what you’d like to be muted – including alarms, media and touch sounds. Notifications allows you to hide the sound from notifications, or you can hide visual and sound interruptions.

The Exceptions section allows you to create a list of contacts who can reach you while your phone is in Do Not Disturb.

The third section is Schedule and here you can you tap on the Duration tab, allowing you to enable the mode until you manually turn it off, or after a defined time limit. You can also opt to have the system ask you which you prefer each time you enable Do Not Disturb.

The Turn On Automatically section allows you to automatically turn the mode on and set custom including turning it on when the phone detects you’re driving.

While there may be some slight changes to the setting from phone to phone, Do Not Disturb mode is built-in and something drivers should become very familiar with.

While there may be some slight changes to the setting from phone to phone, Do Not Disturb mode is built-in and something drivers should become very familiar with.


Takeaway tips

  • Think carefully before setting any exceptions in your Do Not Disturb set-up.  Using your phone while driving (even hands free) is a distraction that can cause a fatal crash.
  • Novice drivers, by law in most jurisdictions can not use any feature of the phone while driving and therefore should not allow any exceptions. 
  • It only takes a few seconds to enable Do Not Disturb in Apple or Android phones.
  • In some models Do Not Disturb While Driving can be automatically enabled while you are driving.