Try these seven driving apps to make your commute more fun and efficient.
Driving to work can be just as stressful and unpleasant as a bad day at the office. Thankfully, there are plenty of apps designed to make your journey quicker, less stressful and more efficient. Whether you want to find the fastest route to your destination, get live traffic updates, hear calming music or know how much gas your car is using, there’s an app for you.
Among more specific driving apps, you’ll find plenty of choices for real-time traffic apps available. All of them work pretty much the same way but differ in how quickly they are updated to take into account changed traffic conditions. You can try out a few to find one that works best for you and your commute.
Top driving apps
Waze is a community-based traffic and navigation app. It relies on community users inputting information as it is happening. It’s available for free on both Apple and Android phones.
For example, on your commute, you might get alerts for traffic jams or accidents that could slow you down, plus alternate routes to get you to your destination faster. You’ll also get notifications for hazards like potholes or cars parked on the shoulder, and speed traps or parked police cars.
Because the alerts are all reported by users, it might not be as useful if you’re driving down rural or less frequented roads that fellow Waze users haven’t made any reports about.
Similar to Waze, this app allows you to save regular trips and get live information about the route before you start your journey. It’s available for free on both Apple and Android phones.
The ability to use voice commands on certain phones and find pit stops on the way help keep your road trip flexible. You’ll also get route info and recommendations to avoid anything that could slow you down.
You might remember the days before smartphones when you’d take driving advice from a GPS device mounted on your dashboard.
TomTom, one of the original GPS device brands, has created an app for navigation that can run straight from your phone without the need for a separate device. It displays the shortest route to your destination and any delays on the way. It also has red light camera and speed camera warnings to avoid getting a surprise ticket.
Spotify helps make your journey more enjoyable by streaming music you actually want to hear. No more silly presenters, loud ads or hits from the 90s, just your kind of music.
Spotify is a digital music streaming service that works like radio, but is transmitted over the Internet. You can make your own playlist or look up playlists of friends or musicians. Spotify “learns” your taste and after a while will start giving you music that is similar to what you have previously selected.
It’s free for the basic version, which can be used on your computer or phone, but does have occasional ads. Spotify Premium is $0.99 for the first three months and then $11.99 per month afterwards. It comes without ads and allows you to play on demand and listen offline. This is especially useful for users with data-based phone plans like Google Fi, who don’t want to pay extra data costs to listen to tunes in the car.
Dash connects your car’s engine with your smartphone. The app integrates with an on-board diagnostics device and displays all kinds of information about your car’s performance and current state.
It can tell you how efficiently you’re using gas, when regular maintenance is required and the meaning of all those little lights on the dashboard. This is a great feature for older cars without digital displays or fuel-efficient engines. Dash also helps you drive better by suggesting changes to your habits.
The app is free but requires an on-board diagnostic device to work. They range in price from $10 to $99.
BestParking helps you park your car without the hassle and stress of finding a spot. BestParking steers drivers toward the cheapest and most convenient parking garages and lots in 105 cities and 115 airports throughout North America.
This app also provides details about each parking spot or garage, including hours, costs, payment methods, discounts and more.
While it doesn’t cover every city, even if your city isn’t supported, consider this app for occasional trips to a bigger city where you’re not as familiar with the parking. Boasting over a million monthly users, BestParking is currently rated four and a half stars on the Google Play store and is free to download for iPhone or Android smartphones.
iOnRoad is a driver assistance tool. It works by monitoring the road ahead of you and providing a warning for possible dangers or potential collisions. To use it, simply mount your phone on the windscreen so that the camera has an unobstructed view of the road ahead. The app displays a video image of the road ahead on the phone’s screen and has a range of features to highlight possible dangers. It can also be set to save the video, so you will always have a record of any incidents.
iOnRoad requires at least a 1GHz processor. It works best on iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S VI, and LG G4. It can work on other phones, but results are not guaranteed.
Making the most of driving apps
Driving while using a phone is dangerous and can be illegal. Make sure you stay safe on the road by preparing for your trip.
- Make sure you have your phone and apps set up before you start driving.
- Get a good phone mounting bracket that lets you see your phone screen without distractions.
- Connect the phone to your car’s stereo system through Bluetooth.
These are just a few of the many apps available to help make your daily commute and road trips a little easier.
New apps come out all the time, so be sure to keep an eye out for new services that make driving easier.