Driving can be a nightmare. There's the congestion, the sneaky speed cameras, the lack of parking spaces, the confusing road signs... whatever else sitting behind the wheel is, a pleasure it isn't. But thanks to the wonders of modern technology, there's plenty of ways you can make the experience better. Use your smartphone to its best advantage by downloading these 10 best apps for drivers today.
10. Practice Test USA & Road Signs
Hand on heart, can you say you know what every road sign you come across means? Could you, for example, explain the difference between a spotted marking and a double marking without a spot on the road? If you can't, you might be in trouble if you're about to sit your driving test. A little bit of road sign knowledge could make all the difference in whether you graduate to a full license or not. If you want to pass your test with flying colors, download Practice Test USA & Road Signs, a nifty little app that will teach you everything you need to know about road signs and basic road rules.
As medium.com explains, What3Words has essentially replaced ordinance survey maps. It's taken the world map, broken it down into three-meter squared chunks, and assigned each chunk three words that will help emergency services locate you if you find yourself offline and in an unfamiliar location. The addresses are accepted by the majority of delivery companies, breakdown services, and emergency services across the world. Many businesses and hotels have also taken to displaying their what3words address on their contact pages.
With the cost of gas rising on an almost daily basis, an app like GasBuddy could make a huge difference to your wallet. The premise is simple - simply download the app, pop in your location, and GasBuddy will let you know when and where you can get the cheapest gas. It also comes with some handy filters that let you sort your nearest gas stations by price, brand, and amenities. On top of that, it utilizes your phone's mobile detection sensor to help alert you to any driving habits that might impact your car's fuel efficiency.
Obviously, everyone should stick to the speed limit regardless of whether there's a speed camera around or not. If you're in an unfamiliar location, however, it's not always easy to work out exactly what that limit is. Radarbot is the only legal app on the market to combine live alerts with accurate speed camera detection. Once you connect it to your car's Bluetooth or CarPlay, the app will alert you to any mobile, fixed speed, tunnel, and traffic light cameras, as well as informing you about any dangerous traffic zones. As a way to avoid expensive fines and points on your license, it's a no-brainer.
6. Learn Driving Offline
As techwiser.com says, before you even think of hitting the pedal, it's crucial to have a good idea about the car, its components, and how things work. The Learn Driving Offline will help you do just that. Divided into four bite-sized chunks, it provides easy-to-understand information on the car's controls, basic driving how-to's (changing gear, etc), traffic rules, and driving hints.
5. DMV Permit Practice Test Genie
Next up is another app ideal for learner drivers - the DMV Permit Practice Test Genie. Once you've selected your state or country, choose which license you're in the process of applying for (car, commercial vehicle, motorcycle, etc), and you'll then be able to work through a comprehensive selection of questions and practices tests based on the driver's manual relevant to your state/ region. If you don't mind splashing out $12, it's worth upgrading to the premium version to access cheat sheets and practice papers without the annoying ads.
If you've made the move from a gas guzzler to an electric vehicle, the PlugShare app will make your life a whole lot easier. It's free to download and, once you have it, you can use it to find over half a million electric vehicle charging points around North America and Europe. Simply plug in the location of where you want to charge your car (the city, zip code, or well-known location), and the app will return all the nearby charging points on a map. Select a charging point to bring up reviews, exact location, and price information.
Recommended as one of the best driving apps for iPhone and Android by drivemag.com, Waze is designed to make driving a lot less stressful than it might be otherwise. It's free to download and provides a wealth of information to improve your driving experience, including real-time updates and active traffic information. Even if it can't get rid of the traffic, it can make a massive difference to how much time you lose to it.
If you've ever found yourself in an unfamiliar location and wasted hours driving back and forth looking for an available parking space, you're going to love Parkopedia. So far, its developers have tracked and traced over 70 million parking spaces in over 15000 cities in the world, and they're adding new ones every day. To use the app, simply use your current location or plug in an address. You'll then find everything you need to know about where to park, how to get there, whether there's a free space available right now, up-to-date prices, and a lot more besides. There are also filters that let you narrow down the results by free parking, street parking, credit card acceptance, etc. The premium version will even let you reserve and pay for parking spaces directly via the app.
1. Find My Parked Car
We've all been there - you park your car, go about your business, and by the time you're ready to head home, you've forgotten where you parked. If you're sick of spending your life hunting down your car, the Find My Parked Car app is for you. When you leave your car, simply record its location. When you're ready to return, the app will guide you back to the parking space. It also offers a slew of additional features, including an alarm to alert you when your parking permit is about to run out.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson