Cell phones make it easier than ever to stay connected at all times. Texts, calls and other notifications pop up all day, no matter where a person is or what they are doing. When it comes time to focus on the road, this is where a dangerous issue arises.

Most everyone understands the dangers of distracted driving. The seconds it takes to check a message or even just glance down at the screen can mean the difference between safety and jeopardy behind the wheel.

For iPhone users with up-to-date software, a tool called Do Not Disturb While Driving can largely eliminate these temptations and keep you, other drivers, passengers and pedestrians safer on New York roads. Thousands of crashes happen each year because of distracted driving, with cell phones as one of the most common distractions.

What does the feature do?

The Do Not Disturb While Driving feature essentially isolates a driver from outside distractions while a vehicle is in motion or a cell phone is connected to a car’s Bluetooth system. The iPhone settings explain the feature silences notifications when enabled and prevents the screen from indicating activity and lighting up.

Additionally, users can activate the setting to send a response to incoming texts or calls to let others know the user is driving and will return their message when they arrive to their destination. This outgoing message is optional and users can personalize the message in the feature’s settings.

Are users cut off from all communication?

Drivers using the app can choose how isolated they would like to be when using the feature. Users can designate certain contacts to override the system and allow notifications while others don’t come through.

The feature also allows for emergency situations such as when a contact calls multiple times in a short window. Repeated calls prompt the system to enable notifications for the driver. Each user can choose how restrictive they’d like the feature to be as it fits with their needs.

Do Not Disturb While Driving helps prevent unnecessary distractions from mobile devices. In reality though, accidents can still happen. There’s no universal solution to stop distracted driving. By using this feature, at least some drivers can mitigate distractions and keep the roads a little safer for everyone.