Driver Knowledge Tests

Listening to your emails in the car

We all know how bad it is to take our eyes off the road to read a text message, and many people admit to checking email in their car or truck, too. If you get a lot of email you could use your time in the car to listen through them using an app. We’ve been trying Speaking Email by Beweb. It’s for iPhone only and works with Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, iCloud and IMAP. It’s quite simple to use: set it reading your email before you pull away from the kerb, and it will stop when it’s read them all for you, or stop after a predetermined number.

The speaking speed is adjustable and you can have it read out new emails as they arrive (it checks every minute), read through emails automatically, finish when a reply is detected, etc

There are customisable pre-made replies which you can use to send a quick reply. We wouldn’t recommend this while driving as it’s illegal to operate your phone, but if you are using this software while you are walking or making dinner then it’s convenient.

Controlling the software is simple as it uses a simple swipe action to move through emails, or tapping to archive it. The buttons at the bottom of the main interface are a bit small to be able to accurately tap without looking at the phone, so you’re better to wait until you’re stationary at lights rather than try to use them on the move.

The speed of the voice can be changed. I’m not sure how the voice is chosen, but it speaks in an Australian female accent, whereas my Siri is set to speak in an Australian male accent.

Overall, it’s quite a useful time-saving device. It’s obviously still requiring some of your attention when you are driving, but if you are in stop-start traffic, very little of your overall attention is required. The software doesn’t mark your email as read in Gmail after it has read it, so you still need to go in and do that, but for people out on the road who might be waiting for a job or urgent message, it gives them notice so that they can pull over and answer the email.



Darren is an expert on driving and transport, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

Posted in Advice, Car, Heavy Vehicle