People driving home for Christmas over the coming few days are being encouraged by a leading online messaging platform to resist the temptation to use their mobile phones.
Research carried out by WhatsApp suggests nearly half of drivers (47%) would be tempted to pick up their phone while behind the wheel – to let family members know of any delays to their journeys.
Instead of doing so, WhatsApp is urging drivers to share their ‘live location’ – a function on the platform which allows friends and family members to track movements in real-time.
WhatsApp is also encouraging drivers to update their ‘about’ status to ‘Driving Home for Christmas’.
Steve Horton, Road Safety GB’s director of communications, said: “The pressure caused by a combination of longer-than-hoped travel times, and the temptation to then forewarn others of your delayed progress, is a bad – and potentially dangerous – driving combination.
“Using these handy tricks on WhatsApp has the potential to alleviate some unnecessary driving stress and allow drivers to just concentrate on driving.
“Safer driving isn’t ‘dead time’; it demands full attention in order to deal with constantly challenging situations, and the distraction of running late just leads to greater unnecessary risk-taking.
“My advice is to plan your travel, let people know your plans and share your WhatsApp ‘live location’ before you set off.
“Then you can focus on the drive, comfortable in the knowledge that you’ll arrive when you get there and there’s no need to speed or message at the wheel.”
How to activate live location
To share your live location, which can be done for up to eight hours, open a conversation and click the ‘+’ button next to the text input section (iPhone) or the ‘paperclip’ (Android).
Then select location > share live location > pick duration > send.
To stop sharing your location once you’ve reached your destination, click ‘stop sharing’.