There are countless apps for drivers across multiple platforms, capable of finding the safest roads, tracking fuel use, or even getting you out of a traffic ticket. Below is a selection of five of the best car-related apps for drivers, hand-picked to help you get the most out of both your car and the open road:
Trapster is a database of user-submitted notes about road hazards, speed traps and speed enforcement cameras. Trapster allows users to pinpoint the location of various hazards to rate the validity of noted locations. Road hazards and speed traps appear as icons on a map displayed on the smartphone screen. Additionally, the app offers sound alerts that will signal as you approach a speed trap or exceed a posted local speed limit. Trapster is an essential app for drivers on long trips on unfamiliar roads, and best of all, it’s still free.
Greenmeter was developed for the iPhone and iPod Touch to offer real-time data about your driving habits, and help you alter your speed, acceleration and braking to achieve better fuel economy. Greenmeter uses the accelerometer in the iPhone and iPod touch to calculate engine power, drag and other variables. This allows it to evaluate the cost of fuel, oil and carbon output. Greenmeter’s objective is to aid users to drive economically, and bills itself as a green lifestyle app. Additionally, Greenmeter records and stores all data it collects, which allows you to review the data (when you’re not driving), and even simulate various conditions and variables and see the calculated cost results. GreenMeter does not require a GPS, and is available for $5.99.
State Farm Pocket Agent
State Farm Insurance offers the Pocket Agent, which allows registered State Farm insurance users to make claims and manage their car insurance on the road or anywhere. Pocket Agent offers a selection of interesting functions, including a “Draw the Scene” function that allows users to create a picture of the conditions of an accident, simulating objects, road conditions and motion. Additionally, Pocket Agent can aid users in documenting the information of other drivers involved in the accident, as well as witnesses on scene. While some features are only available to registered StateFarm.com users, the app itself is free and available through the iPhone store. It is currently an iPhone and iPad exclusive.
My Max Speed
My Max Speed utilizes the Android smartphone’s built-in accelerometer to create a record of the various speeds of a trip. My Max Speed creates this log with speed and location data every five seconds, and data it generates can be exported into a spreadsheet. Additionally, the app can provide a logged history of locations visited, as well as send a message to a pre-set number if the phone travels beyond pre-set limitations, such as out of the neighborhood or city. While My Max Speed might seem like it’s designed to simply monitor the driving habits of teenagers, it can also provide an accurate record to dispute speeding tickets. The app is free on the Android Store as an ad-supported version, but can be upgraded to ad-free for $4.99.
Waze is a community-driven navigation and traffic app, updated by users with real-time information regarding various traffic and road information. Waze users work together to avoid traffic, find the best route from location to location, and monitor the best available gas prices. The app also alerts users to police traps, upcoming accidents on the road, and adverse road conditions. Maps on Waze are edited by the community of more than 30 million users and are updated to include changes that services such as Google Maps cannot keep up with. Waze uses the sort of methodology that makes social media work, and is available for free from the Android Store and Google play.
John is a web developer and freelance writer.