7 Useful Car Apps for Your Smartphone
The days of grabbing your coffee and flipping on the radio during the morning commute are long gone. Before heading out, you have to make sure your Bluetooth is paired, and you’re off, listening to your favorite music via apps like Spotify and Pandora. Even before you leave the house, you might have plotted out your route on Waze. And those are just the household names when it comes to automotive apps. You’ve probably heard of those apps, but there is a whole new generation of car apps to improve your commute. We’ve put together some of the latest helpful apps for your daily commute. Waze
It’s been around for a while, but the company behind the Waze app is still finding ways to improve popular app, which employs info provided its users so you can see things like traffic incidents and speed traps. The company behind its navigation algorithms is trying to reduce the number of left turns taken, known amongst its users as “Waze Left,” to make travel safer.
Waze has also started partnering with several cities across the country to share traffic data, providing Waze with construction updates, and local officials with data to see if their traffic enforcement strategies work.
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Like the name suggest, Roadtrippers is a way for people to enhance their road trip experience by planning trips ahead, booking hotels, and then saving those trips to share with others. It prides itself on “off-the-beaten path” trips and locations. You can simply plan a trip, and then learn about interesting locations along the way, fuel costs, and reviews of hotels that are along the route. They boast that over 5.5 million trips have been logged to-date.
This app is sort of a variation on geo-tagging. You tag a location, and then leave a note as to why that place might be important to you. That may seem a little silly at first, but consider its function when going on a family road trip. We don’t really keep tangible albums like we used to. This way, you can save an entire trip in stories and photos tagged to your route. Seems like a really cool way to remember a family vacation.
This seems like the kind of app we’d use. You plug a special device into the ODB-II port, and it streams all sorts of data to your phone via Bluetooth. When you start driving, the app pairs with your phone and starts recording data on your trip, so you can get information like fuel economy and the cost of gas on that trip.
The app will also decode the problem when a check engine light comes on—and there's a series of sub-apps that enhance the experience. The app will also help you find your parked car and even have an agent call you if the app detects a serious collision.
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In short, it is a podcast client, managing your various subscriptions, but that wouldn’t be doing Overcast justice. What sets is apart lies in two features; Smart Speed and Voice Boost. Smart Speed shortens silent gaps in a recording, which allows you to listen to your entire podcast in shorter time. Meanwhile voice boost not only compensates for changes in ambient sounds (almost like speed-sensitive volume), but also evens out the various sounds within the podcast. If a podcast has spikes in sound at adds or when a different voice chimes in, this a feature evens out the sound.
We have to tip our hat to Car and Driver for finding this one. It is not informative in any way, but instead is highly entertaining. The app lets you select the sounds of various performance cars. Simply connect your phone to your car’s stereo, and you can pump in the sound of a NASCAR, muscle car, Ferrari or even a Lamborghini.
We’ve known about GasBuddy for a long time, so we did not feel the need to include it here. Instead, we’d like to introduce electric car owners to PlugShare. This app is a must-have for EV drivers, as it allows you to locate the closest charging station. There are over 40,000 locations saved, and the app can even tell you if there are spaces available at the charging station.
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