With smartphone sales increasing each year, developers are spending a lot of time and creativity making apps that will catch the attention of iPhone and Android users. Apps that can improve a user’s driving experience are especially popular considering the amount of time the average person spends driving. In fact, according to the Associated Press, the average person in Los Angeles spends over 50 hours per week in traffic in one year’s time.
Some apps aim to cut the time that users are in traffic, while others attempt to keep the users safer than they would be without the apps. Still others are just meant to entertain the users while they are stuck in traffic.
Gas Buddy is an app that uses the driver’s location information to find the cheapest gasoline in the area. GPS can be used to find the stations closest to the driver, or the zip code of the area can be entered. Results can be sorted by distance or price. Gas Buddy prices are updated by other users who stop to fuel up. They log in and let the site know where they are and the price. The only problem that users have noted is the inability to submit a price for a station where they do not stop. (Photo by gasbuddy.com)
aCar is an Android app that helps the user track all of the general costs that are associated with vehicle ownership and use. This can be great for someone who is attempting to stick to a tighter budget, as well as someone who is tracking the expenses for business purposes. The ability to track maintenance schedules via time and mileage can help the user keep up with their oil and air filter changes, potentially prolonging the life of the vehicle. This app can support multiple vehicles at the same time.
ICE is an app that stores In Case of Emergency information. It works best when it is stored on the main window of the phone so that emergency personnel are able to access it quickly. In the event of an emergency, this app can be a lifesaver for those involved. A phone found in the pocket or purse of someone after an accident can give the Emergency Medical Team the information they need about possible allergies, medications, emergency contacts and even insurance information. This app can also be helpful in the case of a lost cell phone. If the person who finds it sees the ICE app, they can open it to contact an alternate number for the phone’s owner. (Photo by ICE)
Beat the Traffic
Beat the Traffic is a great way for users in high-traffic areas to get through their days without sitting still on the interstate. Beat the traffic scans all possible routes to the user’s destination and, if there is a slow route or it sees traffic congestion and gridlock ahead, gives the user an alternate route to take. While there are other apps that do this as well, Beat the Traffic has a large number of sources from which it acquires the information. This makes the app more effective than some of its counterparts who do not focus solely on traffic. (Photo by Beat the Traffic)
Pandora Radio is better than your average radio station for several reasons. Not only is it free to use, but the single commercial that the app plays every third or fourth song is much less annoying that the twenty minutes of advertising that one would hear on a regular radio station. The Pandora stations never fade or static due to the user’s location. The best part is that the user is able to input a song, artists, or genre of music and Pandora will find new music that goes in the same category. So not only does the user get entertaining music on the drive, but they also have the chance to discover new artists and songs along the way.
The Augmented Driving app for the iPhone turns the driver’s windshield view into a video-game like picture on the phone’s screen. One reviewer of the app compared the visuals to that of a fighter jet. The app shows the driver where the lanes are on the road, warns of drifting or lane changes and alerts the driver to cars that are too close. This is a great app for someone who often drives long distances and sometimes experiences road hypnosis. (Photo by Augmented Driving)
Of course, none of these apps should ever be started or adjusted by the driver while driving. The danger of having an accident is much higher when a driver is distracted. If possible, the driver can have a passenger help by operating the application for the phone.