We’re happy to be writing this series on behalf of our sponsor Mercedes-Benz, which is committed to keeping families safe through technology. Visit MBUSA.com to learn more.

As a busy mom of four, you can imagine how often I’m chauffeuring my brood around town to various activities. This means that I’m glad my smart phone is handy–I’m not sure what I would do without my Google Maps app! But with a car full of precious cargo, you can bet safety is of my utmost concern.

Here are five of our favorite ways to more safely use your cell phone in the car, while keeping your hands firmly on the wheel:

We’re seeing more and more DriveSafe.ly email replies here on Cool Mom Tech, which is amazing. When enabled, this mobile app will read your incoming texts and emails aloud, as well as let recipients know that you heard it–sort of like an auto-vacation responder. You can get back to them when you’re off the road.

If you do need to make a call on the road, make sure you’ve got a bluetooth-enabled device, like the Motorola Roadster. Not only can you talk completely hands-free with amazing clarity, but it will stream music and even read your text messages.

Whether you’re trying to locate the nearest bathroom or need to find the closest Target, Dragon Go! lets you search for it with nothing more than a voice command. Just tap a button, tell the app what you’re looking for, and Dragon Go! does the rest.

What do you do when you need to find directions or let your spouse know you’ll be home late for dinner, but can’t text or use your handset in the car? Upload the Vlingo app on your smart phone, and it’ll convert your voice commands into texts. So smart.

Forget the multiple calls to let someone know you’re on your way. With OnMaWay on your smart phone, your friends and family can track where you are using your GPS. So cool. This app is perfect for those of us who are perpetually late or battle traffic more often than we’d like. Or uh, if we have family members who get nervous when we’re 30 seconds late for Thanksgiving.

Do you have any other safe driving tools you love? We’d love to know them!

Visit our sponsor Mercedes-Benz at MBUSA.com for more information on how they’re keeping kids safe through technology.