Driving is stressful at the best of times - but remember how much harder it was before the vast array of apps, satnavs, online traffic data and other tools now at our disposal became available?
These days, mobile devices help us overcome - or at least mitigate the worst effects of - everything from inconsiderate fellow road users to traffic jams. Let’s take a look at a few key ways in which smartphones have made planning and executing road trips easier:
Of all the sat nav apps on the market, Waze has proven the most popular with the general public. Why? Because it rightly uses the general public - you know, the folks actually sharing the road - to generate more accurate data on current conditions. Designed around its community of users, who can report traffic jams, construction, accidents and other hazards, Waze is constantly updated with new information to help you find the quickest route home.
Google is Still Your Most Loyal Friend
Among the plethora of independent apps, Google’s own offerings remains incredibly useful tools for getting from A to B. There’s Maps, of course - still the standard bearer for satellite mapping, and a perfectly serviceable sat nav to boot - but there’s also the Google Now app (on both Android and iOS) which allows you to input all the locations you need to drive between during the day. The app will warn you ahead of time when you need to set off, and let you know if there’s any traffic up ahead.
There are countless tools to warn you about impending delays. One of the best is Beat the Traffic, which includes weather updates as well as the usual traffic and construction data. The self-explanatory USA Traffic Cameras lets you view hundreds of live traffic cameras. Using geo-location technology, the apps shows you live images of traffic conditions in 58 American cities.
Dashcams are increasingly built into new cars as standard, but if you don’t have one, CamOnRoad is here to help. The app silently records everything that happens while you drive, potentially invaluable if you have an accident and need evidence for insurance purposes. Also comes with video navigation.
Speed Trap Alerts
Cameras are often placed in areas where drivers, for whatever reason, tend to go over the speed limit. Apps like TomTom come with a speed camera warning function that gives road users a fair warning so they can double check they’re driving within the law.