It is most definitely illegal to use your phone whilst you are driving, but downloading particular apps before your journey and implementing them before you turn the ignition could add to your driving experience. With the ability to see traffic reports in real time, as well as spotting speed cameras before you can see them yourself, it’s understandable why technology like this is being favoured by many motorists.
David Neil, Motoring Research, reports:
“If you’re using the free Google Now app on Android or iOS, make sure the linked Google Calendar tool includes specific locations for all the places you’re trying to get to during the day — Google’s digital assistant will warn you ahead of time when you need to set off and if there’s a traffic jam on the way. You can then tap through to get directions to wherever it is you’re heading off to.
Any Waze user can report a traffic jam, an accident, a set of roadworks, a police car, a speed camera, a flooded road or anything else you might want to know about. You can of course do your bit for the cause as well, and all the usual sat nav features are included too.
Get a heads up about delays
There are several apps that can warn you about upcoming delays, such as the Live Traffic Info (for Android and iOS) — you can even plug into some live Highways Agency traffic cams if you want to check just how clear the road ahead is. It only covers motorways and major A roads in England, but this is where most problems crop up, and roadworks and accidents are both covered.
Understand your car’s diagnostics
Dash (Android, iOS) is an app that can give you a detailed breakdown of the health of your car and help you improve your driving at the same time.
Using a small Bluetooth device plugged straight into car’s diagnostic port (most cars made in the last decade or two are supported), you can get information on everything from the temperature of the engine to how many miles per gallon you’re currently getting.
Keep going without a data signal
TomTom’s apps for Android and iOS don’t exactly come cheap (the former offers in-app purchases rather than an up-front fee) but if you can stomach the price of admission then there are plenty of features to play around with.
One of those is the excellent offline mode — by downloading the maps you need in advance, the TomTom app can continue getting you to your destination even in the middle of nowhere.
Spot speed cameras in advance
Another of the features you might find useful while tootling around with TomTom’s app is the speed camera warning function — it gives you a fair heads-up when you’re approaching one so you can double-check that your speed is what it should be.
Remember to factor in the money saved on speeding fines when you’re wondering whether you should pay up for the full TomTom experience on your smartphone.”
So it seems there’s an app out there to suit everyone, and surely it’s only a matter of time before these become more integrated into the driving experience. Just as a final word of warning though, ensure these are running before you’re driving – and if you find them too much of a distraction then it’s always best to steer clear.