Is WiFi in the Car a Good Thing?

Auto Smarts

It seems human nature that as soon as new technology comes along, it becomes instantly impossible to live without.

Remember a time before cell phones? Maybe.

Remember a time you didn’t have yours? Probably not.

Once we get something we love, we expect it to work and be there for us at - every time. These days, WiFi is at the top of the list. If a place doesn’t have it, we’ll go someplace that does. WiFi has found its way from our homes to our coffee shops, hotels, offices, planes, trains…and now our automobiles.

Car manufacturers have heeded the call, and over the past few years, they’ve designed more new models with available WiFi services built in. And it’s not just the high end Audi’s and BMW’s of the world that are making the move. Almost all of Chevrolet’s fleet now features WiFi connectivity (Chevy provides this service with technology partner OnStar, while other manufacturers use other solutions.)

But does this new technology (or at least this new venue for an existing technology) really deliver? Does it improve our lives in the car, or just offer another in a laundry list of distractions? There’s no clear cut answer, but let’s review some of the ways in-car WiFi can change the driving experience:


Emergency Safety:


With in-car WiFi, you’re always connected. Regardless of data plans or signal strength, you can:

  • Stay in touch with family and loved ones
  • Access emergency services
  • Load navigation and maps


Most of this is possible now with smartphones, but WiFi in the car makes it more consistent, with added safety in case of an emergency. If anything should happen, or you’re out of signal range, with WiFi built in, you’ll always be able to reach out and connect with someone to help.


Productivity:


Do you carpool with coworkers? Maybe you travel a lot for work, or maybe travel is your job.

The ability to work from the car may improve your productivity (not while you’re driving of course). With in-car WiFi, you can work from your car like never before, by:

  • Using your laptop without tapping into expensive data plans
  • Staying connected with work
  • Sending emails and instant messages
  • Accessing work files, shared sites, or cloud services


Family:


Boredom can set in quickly on a long road trip. You might be floored by the sights and sounds of the world whizzing by, but your kids are probably moaning, groaning, and seat kicking with nothing to do. Running out of ways to keep them amused?

With in-car WiFi, road trips go high tech. The kids can connect their devices, talk to their friends, stream TV and movies, and play games all while you focus on the road…and all without costing you an arm and a leg in data charges.


Distractions:


Distracted driving
is already a major issue, causing more accidents on the road every day. While technology like WiFi, smartphones, tablets, and other devices aren’t inherently flawed, they are a deadly distraction if used while driving.

The question then becomes, will WiFi in cars create more cravings for your devices while you drive?

Regardless of where you fall on this issue, in-car WiFi seems to be the way of the future. While this new technology may improve our lives on the go, it may also provide additional distractions to take our eyes off the road. So before cars can drive themselves (that’s probably not too far off either), it’s a good idea to speak with a Farmers agent about your auto insurance needs, to make sure you’re covered the way you want.

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