How to turn on iPhone's ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’ message

iPhone's newest feature could save your life.

Reading just one text message while driving takes your eyes off the road for an average of five seconds, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

While not paying attention for five seconds when you’re behind the wheel may not seem like a big deal, it’s more than enough time for something unfortunate to happen—nine people are killed every day because of a distracted driver.

With these daunting statistics in mind, Apple installed a Do Not Disturb While Driving feature on iOS 11. According to Apple, this means your iPhone stays silent, and the screen stays dark while you’re on the road. If anybody texts you, they will receive an automatic reply saying, “I’m driving with Do Not Disturb While Driving turned on. I’ll see your message when I get where I’m going.” (This is just a template message. You can change the wording to whatever you’d like).

The feature is customizable, and you can alter the settings for your phone to still connect to Bluetooth, receive calls, use Maps to navigate, and have Siri read you urgent text messages.

How to turn on Do Not Disturb While Driving mode:

With this feature, you have two options: Do Not Disturb While Driving can turn on automatically, or you can manually turn it on/off every time you get in or out of the car.

To have the feature turn on automatically, meaning your phone senses when you’re driving and turns the feature on without you touching a button, follow these steps:

1.Go to Settings > Do Not Disturb. Tap Activate and choose when you’d like the feature to turn on:

  • Automatically: Your iPhone detects motion and checks network connections to determine if you’re driving and turns the feature on.
  • When Connected to Car Bluetooth: Whenever your phone connects to your car’s hands-free system, the Do Not Disturb Setting will turn on.
  • Manually: You add the Do Not Disturb feature to your Control Center and turn it on whenever you’re driving.

2.Choose Auto-Reply To and decide who receives an auto-reply (the contacts in your Favorites or everyone). Customize the message to your liking.

3.In your Auto-Reply, it might be helpful to add that somebody can text you the word “urgent” to have a text come through. You can then either pull over and read the text, or have Siri read it to you.

4.NOTE: If you have the feature set to activate automatically, Do Not Disturb While Driving might try to lock your phone even when you’re a passenger. When it tries to do so, simply tap “I’m Not Driving” to turn it off.

To turn the feature on and off manually, meaning you choose when the Do Not Disturb While Driving setting is working, follow these steps:

1.Add the Do Not Disturb button to your Control Center. Go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls.

2.Find Do Not Disturb While Driving and tap the green button with the + sign in the middle. This adds the feature to your Control Center.

3.Swipe up. Now every time you swipe up on your screen, you’ll see a button with a car. Tap that to enable the Do Not Disturb While Driving setting. When you’re parked, tap the button again to turn the feature off.

What if I don’t have an iPhone?

Don’t worry; there’s an app for that. If you’re an Android user, you can download one of the many apps created to block texts and calls while driving. The DMV recommends LifeSaver or AT&T DriveMode.

Henna Chevrolet is a community-minded dealership and supports safe-driving initiatives. For a more in-depth look on safe driving, visit Austin’s Henna Chevrolet at