Is the LifeSaver App Worth it?
You’re cruising along, eyes on the road and your phone does it again. Buzz. Chirp. Chime. You don’t really want to look at it, but you do — because you’re conditioned to. Is there an app that can help?
Sure! It’s called LifeSaver.
How Does the LifeSaver App Work?
In short, LifeSaver aims to prevent distracted driving either by blocking access to your phone (in the Android version) or by warning the driver to “keep your eyes on the road” via notification banner (in the iPhone version.) When running in the background, the app automatically detects when the phone is in a moving car.
The user always has the option to turn the app off. Or, in the app’s settings, you can enable passenger mode (which allows use in a moving vehicle) and the addition of an “emergency call” or “emergency unlock” button. So, for the app to truly be effective, the user needs an accountability partner, which LifeSaver calls the “loved one.”
The loved one (typically a parent or spouse) can receive notifications if the phone user tries to use the phone while driving. A dashboard displays stats for each month: time spent driving safely, usage violations, emergency unlocks and passenger unlocks. Parents can also set up rewards that can be earned by driving safely.
Pros of the LifeSaver Distracted Driving App
- It’s free: The basic, fully functional version of the app is free for personal use. So if you’re looking for a free distracted-driving app, LifeSaver is a good bet.
- It can give you a discount on your car insurance: In 2018, Good2Go Auto Insurance announced that it would give customers in 11 states a 5 percent discount on their insurance for using LifeSaver. To get this Cell Phone Safety Discount, you must first become a Good2Go policyholder. (Compare insurance quotes on Compare.com to find out if Good2Go offers insurance in your state.) Then, download the app and set up your driver portal. You can also get the discount by installing an approved text-blocking device in your vehicle and providing Good2Go with a copy of your receipt.
- You can access navigation: A few other features, like music, navigation and hands-free calling are accessible. The Android version lets you use Google Maps. The iOS version allows you to use Apple Maps navigation and music, as long as you set it up before driving and use those apps while the iPhone is passcode-locked.
Cons of the LifeSaver Distracted Driving App
- iOS phones don’t block phone use: For Android devices, LifeSaver has the ability to actually block phone use; but iOS phones won’t allow that. LifeSaver suggests that iPhone users simply leave the passcode screen lock on when driving in order to avoid warnings.
- It eats your battery: The developers of LifeSaver say they’re working to reduce the app’s power usage, but some reviewers complain that it’s the single biggest drain on their battery.
- There are privacy concerns: In the dashboard, the user (and the “loved one” who has access) can see exactly where and when the vehicle traveled. For teenagers, this might be a good feature; for adults, it seems like TMI. There’s even a publicly visible map called “Find the Offenders” that marks your (and everybody’s) driving violations with a pin.
Road Test Review of the LifeSaver App
We took the iOS version of the LifeSaver app for a quick spin to test it out. The app successfully detected when the car was moving, and anytime we tried to access an app (such as messages, weather, or email) it displayed the “Keep your eyes on the road” banner. However, the banner itself was distracting — and not a very effective deterrent. At best, it was a slight annoyance that served as a gentle reminder to put the phone down.
Also, the LifeSaver app could not help with one of the worst habits of distracted drivers: using the phone at red lights. When our car was stopped, the app didn’t display a warning.
The most helpful part of the LifeSaver app may be the dashboard. Seeing your driving violations marked on a map (four in just 15 minutes!) can be a wake-up call for drivers who frequently use their phone while driving. It might be just the kick in the posterior you need to quit being a distracted driver.
Our review of the LifeSaver app: It’s worth a try, especially if you’re a Good2Go customer. There are also other distracted-driving apps out there that you may want to compare with as well. DriveMode is a free app that makes your phone easier to use in the car by simplifying the interface. TrueMotion is designed to motivate safe driving with rewards. Honestly, any effort to stop texting and driving is a step in the right direction!
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