Date Posted: 08-03-2017
Smart phones are just about the best traveling companion you can get, provided you keep your hands off them whilst you’re driving! Not only do they offer brilliant navigation options, there’s also a great choice of apps to make those miles seem shorter and a little safer. We’ve looked at 5 Android and iOS driving apps that might be worth adding to your phone before your next journey. These are all free or very cheap to download.
1. Drive socially
Waze claims to be the world’s largest community driven navigation and traffic app. Waze helps you find the best route using live updates from drivers around you. This includes traffic alerts, police incidents, hazards and anything that’s going to delay you and use up more fuel. You even get to message friends and colleagues on your ETA should you be late. Google bought Waze, if that’s a big seal of approval.
Free to download on both Android and iOS. Find out more here.
2. Your own dashboard camera
No need to invest in a separate dashboard cam, as there are decent apps that can get your phone to handle the job. DashCam is available on iOS and gives you a range of features including route tracking, average speed, distance tracking (between you and the vehicle in front) and of course hi-res video footage in the event of any incidents. Find out more here.
Autoboy’s Dash Cam is a good alternative for Android users. Both are free to download. Find out more here.
3. Driving mode for your phone
Of course we strongly advise against anyone going near their phone whilst driving and thankfully we’re seeing some great apps to keep your hands firmly on the steering wheel. Dashdroid for Android, is a smart solution which enables you to voice control messaging apps such as Telegram, Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger as well as “Ok Google” voice command support. And whilst stationary, the app will offer you a home screen with enlarged buttons to make simple and quick connections to other apps on your phone. It’s free to download, with in-app purchase options. Find out more here.
A good alternative for iOS is iCarMode. Again, the app turns your phone into a simple, easy to use driving device, offering similar functionality to DashDroid. Available for £1.99 from the App Store. Find out more here.
4. Every driving tune
There are those journeys when the radio just won’t do and you’ll always have a favourite song you’ll want right there and then. Whilst this might be an obvious one, Spotify is a perfect streaming service to plug into your car. Some up-to-date entertainment systems will synch with your phone automatically, whilst others can get by with a simple jack plug-in. If you want to skip the ads, you can subscribe and even enjoy some offline listening options.
5. In case of emergencies
If the worst were to happen, it’s best to get technology on your side. grdian is a newly launched app which detects if the user has had a sudden accident. It’s claimed the technology has been developed in partnership with Formula One researchers and works for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike. In the event of an accident, the app will call emergency services, who will remain on the line until they’ve arrived. It can be also set to call your next of kin and store any additional medical history for emergency responders.
grdian hasn’t seen much feedback yet, but might be worth considering for any vulnerable friends or relations. Free to download on Android with an iOS version launching soon! Find out more here.
Before we go, it’s worth stressing again how important it is NOT to use your smart phone whilst you’re driving, under any circumstances. From March 2017, the fine for using a mobile phone whilst driving now stands at £200 with an additional 6 points endorsement on your licence. So get to know how these apps work and set them up properly before you get going. That way, you get to enjoy the real benefits they offer.
If you’re heading out on a long journey soon, good planning will be the best thing you can do. And don’t forget to include a stop at Welcome Break along the way. Use our Journey Planner to find a Welcome Break on your route here.
If you’re a regular driving app user, tells us which one you’d recommend by tweeting us @welcomebreak. If we retweet your recommendation, you’ll win a £5 voucher!