Ladies and gentlemen drivers, let’s get app happy. Unlike commuting traffic, technology never stands still, so we figured it was about time we updated our handy list of awesome apps to help you navigate the not-so-open roads.
Get your downloading finger ready and let these smartphone saviors ride shotgun as you make your way to work, home, or wherever else life takes you. (Customary reminder to never, ever, EVER manually operate your phone while driving goes here).
MotionX GPS Drive
Hailed by many as the ultimate do-it-all driving aid, MotionX is the next best thing to strapping sirens on your vehicle. Stay ahead of traffic by getting live, spoken accident and hazard alerts, police locations, and even notice of nasty weather patterns that might otherwise hinder your daily drives. The latest version costs $0.99 to download on your iPad or iPhone, (there are plenty of paid extras you can add, too) but it’s well worth the cost.
MotionX GPS Drive for iOS
Seems like just yesterday this old classic was making headlines for outing police hideouts with its cop tracking feature. Nonetheless, community-based Waze has managed to skirt both the law and a bevy of powerful newcomers with its handy real-time road and traffic info maximized for all of our driving pleasure. Since we last reported on Waze, it was purchased by Google, so it now shares many features with Google Maps. However, Waze has the awesome “Time in traffic bar” feature that tells you just how long you’ll be stalled in a traffic jam – priceless info for everyone who feels like they spend too much time commuting.
Dash claims that it “turns every car into a ‘smart car.’” Like a “fitbit for your car,” Dash works in unison with an onboard diagnostic transmitter (OBD) that plugs right into your car’s inner circuitry (every vehicle aged 1996 and newer has a dedicated OBD port) and spits out pertinent information like what type of fuel economy you’re getting, what the diagnosis of your check engine light is, and just how often – and how badly – you use your brakes.
TripLog, which offers GPS-based mileage tracking, isn’t the most exciting app out there. But it is IRS-compliant, which is important for drivers who rack up reimbursement mileage. You can even integrate it with QuickBooks and Concur to eliminate annoying paperwork.
Never be late again – at least on purpose – with ETA. Tag your usual hangouts and let ETA tell you exactly how long it’ll take you to get to work, school, or your favorite happy hour spot – and which route will get you there fastest. As a bonus, it also tracks walking times, in case you decide to ditch the car for a change. The app will set you back $1.99, but that’s a small price to pay to avoid the annoyance of being late.
Don’t have a collision alert system? Available for just a few bucks, iOnRoad uses your phone’s camera, GPS, and sensors to detect vehicles and other objects in front of your vehicle, and gives off an audio/visual warning whenever danger is detected. Fair warning: you still need to pay attention to the road.
One of our old favorites that’s great for road tripping or exploring new cities, GasBuddy helps you find the cheapest local gas, as reported by other users. Since our last report, Gas Buddy has added “Challenges” that allow you to collect points for submitting gas prices, sharing the app with friends, posting in the forum, and more. Once you’ve earned 1,000 points (this happens pretty quickly) you’re eligible to win free gas ($100 worth every day) and other prizes.
Looking for juice in all the wrong places? PlugShare gets your electric vehicle back up to speed by showing you locations for more than 50,000 public charge stations, all over the country. Whether you’re driving a Tesla or a Toyota, you’ll get a charge out of this app.