Whether you’re running errands or planning a road trip, mobile apps can make your route faster, simpler and more fun. “Your phone is supposed to make you more connected,” says Automoblog managing editor Carl Anthony. “The automobile culture understands that and has jumped on board.”
From quirky navigation apps to handy car finders, these are sure to make your next ride a joy.
Sure, this social-based mobile app functions like any other GPS, with step-by-step directions and voice alerts, but Waze (iOs and Android; free) is so much more. A community of dedicated Wazers report everything from traffic jams to construction detours to road hazards, so your route updates in real time. Map a Planned Drive in advance and tell Waze when you want to reach a destination; it’ll remind you when it’s time to leave. You can even let friends know your ETA. For extra kicks, choose from among fun audio options like movie stars or rappers relaying your directions along the way.
Whether you’re trying to find your car out of the hordes of silver sedans at the mall or just can’t remember what corner you parked on, Car Locator (Android; $3.99) has you covered. Open the mobile app when you park, double-tap to save and it will store your position. When it’s time to go, you can navigate back to your car via a map, radar or split-screen view. You can set a timer in the app to alert you when your meter has expired, text or email your car’s location and even set your phone to automatically store your coordinates every time you disconnect it from your car’s Bluetooth.
The DriveSafe.ly app (Android, BlackBerry; free) reads your texts and emails aloud in real time and offers a customizable auto-response, is Bluetooth-compatible and supports 28 text-to-speech languages. It’s also completely hands-free. An annual Pro plan for $13.95 allows you to respond by voice.
Eco-friendly driving is fun with this tracking app, which is also an Automoblog favorite. Green Driving Challenge (iOS, $5; Android, $3) logs your gas mileage and driving habits to help you become a more fuel-efficient driver. Track everything from your best MPG ranges to your car’s carbon footprint, and compare routes to see which can save you the most cash on gas—and help you drive the greenest. (Note: You’ll need an On-Board Diagnostics Scanner to get all that in-depth data. You can buy one from Green Driving Challenge or online retailers.)
Download GEICO’s own award-winning mobile app for everything from roadside assistance to finding parking nearby to where to get the cheapest gas.
By Nicole Price Fasig