New electronics coming into cars may seem neat, but at what cost to our level of distraction out on the road?

My wife has a fancy newfangled car called a Tesla. It’s hard not to get distracted because the center console is an 11 x 17 touchscreen that’s as elegant as a piece of art.

You can listen to thousands of radio stations around the world with the Internet connectivity; you can listen to Slacker; or you can listen to traditional radio in your own market. Then it allows you to surf the web too!!

You can also touchscreen all the different controls in the car. But when my wife lets me drive the car, I learned very quickly not to look down and work the controls because it consumes all of my attention.

All these electronics in the cars are neat and scary at the same time!

Now comes word that GM is going to offer 4G Internet access in most cars in just one more model year. The marketplace is demanding it because two-thirds of buyers have smartphones, and a J.D. Power study says almost all car buyers who have a smartphone have their buying choice influenced by what kind of connectivity a new car has.

The whole issue obviously becomes one of distracted driving.

Just recently, I was starting to pull out of a parking lot. I had a snack, I had a drink, and then the phone rang. How was I going to juggle it all as I was getting ready to drive on the interstate?

Well, I pulled back into the parking space and waited until the phone call was done. That was a sign of maturity for me because in the past I would have tried to juggle it all!

If ever I’m tempted to look at my phone as I’m driving, I throw the phone in the backseat instead so I won’t look. That’s my way to control myself. Set up those rules for yourself -- whatever those rules are -- to keep yourself safe.

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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