Smartphones are a terrible distraction for drivers. If you’ve ever been driving down the road with smartphone in pocket and had your device start ringing, then you’ve probably also nearly veered into a ditch while trying to awkwardly dig that device out of your pants with one hand while steering with the other.
Of course, answering your phone in this way is now illegal across much of North America. Drivers can face pretty hefty penalties from police that will pull you over if they see you with device in hand – even at a red light. That’s probably for good reason, as several studies in the past have shown talking on the phone while driving is nearly as bad as driving drunk. So this must be avoided.
To do that, you have two options. Either you turn off the device while you’re driving and just accept that you won’t be looking at your screen during this time. Or you find a way that you can look at the screen and tap at your device without having to hold it.
For myself, option one doesn’t seem too practical. Especially if I’m driving to a new destination, then I’m probably using navigation in Google Maps to get me there and that sort of requires my device being on. Plus, having the ability to do a hands-free call or text can be a real boon at times. Given my car provides no built-in way to prop up my smartphone while I drive, I started improving.
My most common solution was to use a cup-holder to pro up my device. This wasn’t too bad, but not ideal. My phone would always fall over, and glancing at it took my vision away from the road. For awhile, I actually tried using a velcro solution, sticking a pad to my steering wheel and another to my smartphone case. This actually worked out well, but after repeated uses, the stickiness of the velcro pads wore out and wouldn’t stay on the wheel any longer.
But I’ve finally found the ideal solution in the Montar car mount from Winner Gear. The accessory is simple in its design. A vice grip holds your device in place – no matter how big it is – and a suction cup will seal to either your dashboard or your windshield. A clamp on the mount is used to cement it in place, and after several weeks of using it with two different smartphones, I’m happy with the performance.
I’ve used the mount with both a Nexus 5 and an iPhone 6 Plus. The vice grip easily expands to hold either one firmly in place – and stretches even wide enough to accomodate the big iPhone 6 Plus with an Otter Box case around it. Even with the heavy iPhone, the suction cup does its job 90 per cent of the time and sticks to my dashboard. Admittedly, it’s toppled over once or twice while I was driving. But the good news is that I’ve always been able to reapply it and there’s no loss of stickiness for the suction cup on repeated uses.
While the product reviews on the Amazon page say you can put your device into the mount with one hand, I recommend using both hands to do this before you start driving. Hold down the base to your dashboard and put your phone in the mount with the other. Also, I haven’t been brave enough to try attaching it to my windshield yet as a fall from there might be a bit more impactful.
The device mount lets you rotate your device to be seen either in portrait or landscape mode. I found this handy for using navigation with maps, dictating texts by voice, and even making a video recording from out my windshield.
At $30, it’s not the least expensive car mount on the market. But it works well and I’d say it’s worth the money.
At least it’s cheaper than getting a ticket for digging your smartphone out of your pocket.