Someday, we won’t have to worry so much about driving around. The car will just do it all for us.
No need to focus on what you’re doing – or what other people are doing – and no need to even watch the road. You could enjoy breakfast or catch up on some reading during your morning commute.
Until that day comes, though, drivers could still use a helping hand. That’s where your smartphone comes in handy.
Now, we’re not talking about tweeting away while you’re cruising down the highway. There are a number of really great apps which genuinely make the whole driving experience a lot easier, safer and more efficient.
A few weeks ago, we covered VW’s launch of their My VW app, the first of its kind in the motoring industry. Now, we’ll have a look at some other great apps to help you along.
A smart navigation solution and trip advisor.
Traffic – the bane of our modern existence. Anyone who’s ever lived or worked in a city knows what we’re talking about. You try alternate, back-road routes or leave home before the sun comes up in order to avoid rush hour – but no matter what you do, you end up stuck somewhere.
The Waze smartphone app tries to change that. Waze offers community-driven info on road accidents, speed traps, roadblocks or any other hazards that might affect your commute – all in real-time. It does this by using crowd-sourced information from road users, meaning that you as a user can also post traffic notifications.
Drivers all come together as a community to share shortcuts or news. The app does, however, have background map editors who ensure the date you’re receiving is as accurate as possible.
The app also offers turn-by-turn voice navigation; automatic rerouting – and – you’ll be able to send your ETA to your friends or family at the beginning of your trip.
Saving you time, saving you Prozac.
This one isn’t just for the city dwellers, but for any human being who finds it infuriating to drive around aimlessly in search of a parking space. In Cape Town, for instance, it may seem easier to just walk to wherever you need to be.
Perhaps you’re holidaying in a town you don’t know all that well, or simply commuting to work. The ParkMe app finds available parking in your chosen destination. The goal, of course, is to reduce frustration. Instead of driving around all over the place with that hopeless look in your eyes, just use ParkMe ahead of time. The app will help you find a safe, nearby place to leave your vehicle, as well as telling you how much it will cost.
The app offers views of street parking, indoor and covered parking, valet parking, etc. and even allows you to reserve a space for your car, depending on the location.
Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
Distracted driving is one of the top five, if not the leading cause of traffic accidents and collisions. The main culprit? Our phones.
We all know we shouldn’t be playing with our phones while we drive, but everybody does it. So, the DashDroid app was created to combat this. The app knows when you’re driving and when you’re not. When you are, it switches your phone over to Car Mode and performs a variety of functions while you keep your attention where it needs to be – on the road.
These functions are simple. It displays the time, the weather, your current speed and enables you to make calls or text via voice commands. It also blocks notifications, so as not to break your concentration, and can be fully personalised.
It’s basically as good as a hands-free kit, but better – and – DashDroid is free.
FNB nav>> Car
Renew your licence discs and pay your fines… If you’re that way inclined.
First National Bank customers are now able to renew their car licence discs online with the nav>> Car app. This includes the new licence being delivered right to your door. We covered it a few months ago.
With the app, you’re also able to address other car maintenance issues and get alerts for any new traffic fines. Nice guy FNB allows you to make in-app payments to settle these fines, as well.
Dialdirect Insurance App
Drive right, get rewarded.
Similar to Discovery’s DQ-Track behaviour tracking system, but not as needlessly complicated, Dialdirect have launched their own app to monitor your driving.
The app uses GPS and smartphone sensor technology to track your driving. Do you take corners too hard, do you drive at horrifically high speeds through a school zone or do you spend a lot of time scrolling through memes on Instagram while navigating the N1? The app knows if you do. If you’re a responsible driver, based on the data, you’ll be rewarded. If, however, there’s some room for improvement, the app will help you along.
For Dialdirect members, the incentive is simple. Download the app, don’t drive like an absolute maniac, and you could earn up to 75% of your premiums back in cash. For all the nitty-gritty details, you can view the app guide on their website.
Which smartphone apps do you use, to make your driving experience better?