If you’ve been driving for years, vehicle safety features and technology have probably come a long way since you first got behind the wheel. Relatively new tools like back-up cameras and blind spot monitoring can reduce your risk of an accident, and GPS technology can help you get where you’re going without having to pull out a paper map. Today, there are also several smartphone apps that can help you get to your destination safely, block out distractions, and avoid some of the unnecessary expenses that can come with driving.
Why not take some of these driving apps for a spin? Just remember to set them up before you hit the road…
Navigation apps to get you where you’re going
Travelling in an unfamiliar area is stressful enough without having to worry about missing an exit or ending up in the wrong town — and some of the most dangerous (and inconsiderate) habits reveal themselves when a driver is under pressure. Apps like Google Maps and Waze offer turn-by-turn navigation systems that help drivers steer clear of obstacles like traffic jams and road closures, re-routing when needed and keeping them on the best possible path.
Quick tip: Program your route and securely mount your phone before putting the car in drive — and remember not to handle your phone while you’re driving, or you risk a distracted driving charge.
Apps that block texts and prevent phone use while driving
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents — and your cell phone can be a tempting source of distraction, especially when it seems to be buzzing nonstop. Thankfully, there are plenty of apps that can reduce distracted driving risks by disabling your phone functions while your car is moving, preventing you from calling, texting, or using other apps.
If you were thinking of setting your teen driver up with an app like this, you should know that many of them can also sound an alert when a driver travels above the speed limit, turns the app off while the car is moving, or arrives at their destination. Plus, they can allow you to set emergency contacts that can be dialed, like Mom, Dad, and 9-1-1.
To keep your (or your teen’s) eyes on the road — and hands on the wheel — try taking an app like DriveSafe Mode or LifeSaver for a spin.
Smart parking apps
Finding a good, cheap parking spot can be a pain — and it’s even worse when you race back to your vehicle only to find that the meter has run out and there’s a ticket on your windshield. Luckily, there are several apps that can track down nearby parking lots, accept credit card payments for parking, alert you before your payment expires, and even top up the meter if you’re running behind schedule. The services offered by each parking app can differ quite a bit, so compare features and decide what best suits your needs:
- Find and pay for a space in a nearby parking lot (and top up a payment to avoid parking tickets) → ParkMe Parking, PayByPhone Parking, Honk
- Compare prices at nearby parking lots and garages → BestParking
- Keep track of your parking spot and how much time is left on the meter → Parking Time (iPhone only)
- Find and pay for a Green P parking space → Green P Parking (Toronto only)
Quick tip: The locations serviced by these top-rated parking apps vary, so be sure to track down an app that works in the city you’ll be travelling to.
Have you ever passed a gas station, checked the price, and then driven around the block to find out if it’s lower somewhere else? Gas prices are all over the map — but you don’t have to be. An app like GasBuddy allows users to compare prices at all local gas stations using crowd-sourced, up-to-the-minute data. It also features a trip cost calculator, which will make it easier to split the price of gas with friends on that cross-country road trip or journey down south.
Get the right car insurance coverage (no app required)
Sometimes an accident happens, even when you’ve taken all the right measures to prevent it — and that’s what car insurance is for. If you have questions about your coverage, reach out to your group’s licensed car insurance broker.
Note: Economical is not affiliated with the third parties referenced in this post. Trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
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