Why You Should Never Keep Your Phone in the Glove Compartment

It may seem like a good idea, but it also has damaging consequences.

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The glove compartment is basically the pantry of your car. It’s a convenient—albeit, sometimes messy—place to store all of your driving essentials: insurance information, the vehicle’s owner’s manual, snacks, napkins, hand sanitizer, the list goes on. But that list should never include your cell phone.

Admittedly, there are a number of valid reasons to stash your phone in the glove compartment while you drive. For one, it won’t slide all over the seat or bang around in your cupholder. More importantly, with your phone out of sight, you may be less tempted to check it on the road and avoid a potential accident. A few years back, Ford U.K. and the road-safety organization Brake launched a campaign to start calling glove compartments “phone boxes” for this very reason. Other organizations, like the “Glove It” movement, have also advocated for this habit. (Here are more tips on how to stop texting and driving once and for all.)

The problem is, leaving your phone in your glove compartment can cause serious damage to the device. You’re more likely to forget to take your phone with you when you get out of the car if it’s stored in a place you can’t see it, leaving it vulnerable to extreme temperatures. Exposing your phone to excess heat (around 35˚C or higher) can lead to data loss, corruption, and even permanent battery damage, TIME reports, and a parked car left in 35˚C heat can warm up to 46˚C in just an hour. That means even if your car is left in hot temperatures that don’t reach 35˚C, the interior of your car could still reach that harmful threshold. Storing your phone in the glove compartment doesn’t save it from that heat. In fact, that could make it worse.

Extremely cold temperatures can be just as harmful. According to TIME, phones exposed to cold weather (around -18˚C or below) can experience a shorter battery life, have display problems, or shut off unexpectedly. It could even cause the glass to shatter. (Discover more habits that are shortening the life of your phone.)

Safe driving solutions

So how can you drive around with your phone and keep yourself and your device safe at the same time? If you have an iPhone, use the “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature, which prevents notifications from popping up while you drive and can send an automatic response to texts explaining that you’re driving. (One study found that this feature is actually effective for drivers.) Apps like LifeSaver can also block texts and calls and even reward you for driving safely. The simplest option is to turn it off altogether.

However, apps don’t solve the problem of where to store your device while you drive. That’s where smartphone car mounts come in. Mounts are both a secure place to store your phone while your text-blocking apps are turned on and a safe way to use your phone as a GPS when necessary. Wirecutter ranked the iOttie Easy One Touch 4 the best smartphone mount for most drivers. It can hold any size phone, and you can choose from a dash/windshield mount, a CD-slot mount, and an air-vent mount.

With these tips, you can not only avoid damage for your phone, but you’ll keep yourself and other drivers safe every time you get behind the wheel.

Find out 10 more things you should never keep in your glove compartment.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest