Practical apps for switched-on drivers
While there are plenty of fun applications for our smartphones, there is also a world of apps which are helpful in all manner of ways. From those with safety-enhancing features, to those which help to save pennies on our ever-more expensive roads, there is sure to be something that will make your life just a little easier.
Of course, while it’s illegal to use a handheld phone while you are driving, having a sympathetic co-pilot can help – and there are even some that use voice-activation so you don’t have to pull over to handle your phone. So what are some of the more interesting options?
Getting from A to B
Using a map is one thing, but GPS is the ubiquitous 21st century approach to directions. But there’s no need to buy expensive satnav devices for the car; your phone has the ability to take you turn by turn to your destination.
You can use the navigation element of something like Google or Bing maps, but there are more sophisticated options. These include satnav stalwarts such as TomTom or Trafficmaster, which says its ‘Smartnav’ guides you ‘intelligently’ by taking into account traffic jams etc.
Waze harnesses the power of social media to generate a real-time version of what is happening on the road ahead of the user. It even allows drivers to record voice messages that give others a heads-up on accident areas to avoid, and also provides a feature for allowing commuters on a similar route to share pertinent information even more easily. BMW’s Ultimate Drive app offers a similar idea for crowd-sourced information.
Meanwhile, if you loathe the chore of finding a car parking space, then there’s an app for that too from the AA, which finds both free and paid parking based on your GPS signal. And if you struggle to find the car again once you leave it, there are also apps which allow you to drop a pin in the parking place, so you can always navigate back to it.
Texting while driving is obviously illegal, and yet some people find it difficult to leave their phone alone when they hear the beep indicating they’ve had a message. DriveSafely solves this problem by reading out your texts and emails – meaning you don’t have to take your eyes off the road or touch your phone to keep abreast of your messages. It even automatically responds to the sender, so they know you are concentrating on the road for the time being.
And if you want an independent witness alongside you at all times, you could try using a ‘black box recorder’ app, such as the Daily Roads Voyager or Witness Driving. This uses the video capabilities of a phone to record the road ahead, meaning that anything interesting – such as unusual cars or evidence in a road accident – is captured for posterity.
Economise on your journey
One of the great things about the internet is the way it connects people and places – add in the convenience of the mobile app, and there’s a world of economising measures you can make. Carpooling apps allow people who need a lift to find those who have spare seats on journeys –, reducing congestion on the roads and lowering the impact of harmful emissions. It also saves both parties money – great if you’re the driver with a car loan and insurance bills to pay.
While the apps that enable your driving experience may be fairly affordable, getting mobile in the first place is far from cheap these days, and may make looking into car finance options helpful. If so, look around for the right bank loans or secured loans to help get on the road.
Finally, no-one wants to be taken for a ride by the vagaries of the oil market. These days, oil prices are so high you feel you need to investigate secured loans before making any trip to the petrol pumps. To make sure you always get the cheapest fuel around, apps such as Petrolprices Pro will help you find the most cost-effective forecourt.
Issued by Barclays
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