Using your phone in the car in most cases is bad. Sometimes, however, it's just unavoidable. For our part, we should try to reduce distractions while driving, which is why the first part of my own driving mode includes turning off Auto-Sync, so I don't get distracted by notifications I should answer at 75 mph (god bless Texas freeways). When you get a text or call, though, it's a little harder to ignore without seeing at least who it is, especially if you're on your way to meet someone. We use a Bluetooth headset or head unit to avoid holding the phone, but that doesn't help up read the incoming call or text.
The Moto X has a Driving mode in Assist - a subsection of the Moto app - to help keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel, and for the most part it works quite well. If you enable it, Assist will read out the caller ID on incoming calls and will not only read on incoming calls but also allow you to respond with just your voice.
While readying out and listening for replies, Assist will pop up the same screen you get with Touchless Controls, which is what these commands rely on. And while technically the Moto X is supposed to work even if the phone is say in your cupholder, the closer it is, the better your results will be. I found the best results when I used a windshield mount or simply held the phone around neck-high, out of sight but close enough for the mics to pick you up over pretty much any road noise short of a hailstorm. If the mics don't pick you up, you don't get another chance, instead the Moto X will say "let's talk later" and tell you to go back to driving.
Of course, Assist mode is only useful when its turned on, and while it can learn which Bluetooth device is your car, Assist uses the sensors and GPS in your Moto X to trigger Driving mode, kicking on when you're moving fast enough to logically assume you're in some sort of vehicle. For those who ride the tube or the train, you might have it trigger during your commute and try to read out your texts. There is, thankfully, a button in the expandable Driving mode notification that says "I'm not Driving." (It's handy for when you're on trains or planes or passenger seats.)
Assist has a few other tricks, like turning on your music when it's activated, for those who always listen to music in the car - like me. You can select almost any media player you have installed. It even lists Netflix and Hulu, but you would never watch movies or TV while driving, right? Right!
With tools like these, there is absolutely no reason for a Moto X owner to risk the safety of them and anyone in/around their vehicle trying to read a text while behind the wheel of a car, truck, or big-honking semi. Take advantage of the time and effort that Motorola took bringing us Assist and use Driving mode. Anyone else wishing Google has snagged this functionality to integrate into Android for all drivers to enjoy safely?
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