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Dashboard infotainment systems can be a distraction to drivers

More New Jersey drivers are replacing their hand-held devices with in-vehicle infotainment systems that allow them to do the tasks they would normally do using their smart phones. Unfortunately, these built-in dashboard features can be more distracting than helpful. If you plan to use your infotainment system, here's what you should know.

Anticipate a learning curve

Get to know your infotainment system before you plan to use it. People often complain that their system was difficult to use at first. Take the time to learn which features you would like to use and focus on learning those specific tasks.

Program the radio

A simple task can be complicated when it's packaged in an infotainment system. Your radio should be less distracting if you program the stations and music settings that you will frequently use. Since using a touch screen takes your hands off of the wheel and your eyes off the road, learn to use the steering wheel controls.

Set up hands-free calling

Most new vehicles come equipped with Bluetooth technology that allows you to use your cell phone hands-free. The most important thing to remember is that hands-free does not mean distraction free. The mental distraction of a phone call can be just as dangerous as taking your eyes off the road.

Navigate the GPS

Even if you're using voice commands, inputting an address can be very distracting. Safely use your GPS by programming your destination before you leave and be sure to pull over if you need to adjust your route.

Ultimately, drivers should know that operating an infotainment system can be just as dangerous as texting and driving. While there are many benefits to replacing hand-held devices with hands-free alternatives, the best decision is driving distraction free.

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