Nowadays there are plenty of apps on the market to help you with all aspects of driving from planning your route to parking. We’ve put together a list of some of the best.
The journeys we make by car are not always as easy as going from A to B. All too often, unforeseen issues slow us down and make the journey more complicated than we’d like – from traffic jams to parking problems and all points in between. Luckily, a wide number of smartphone apps now exist to make every journey we make much easier.
Here are several you should definitely consider!
1. For planning your route…
Fail to prepare and prepare to find yourself in a long traffic jam that makes you late and irate, as the old saying almost goes. Mapping out your route before you set off can help save you time, fuel and significant stress.
Google Maps, Apple’s Maps and Waze are all excellent for establishing your best route, highlighting road works and event traffic along said route, then establishing how long your journey should take to get there. But be aware that using them during your journey may gobble up your phone’s data.
And because you may prefer not to be driving in heavy, lashing rain, downloading a trusted weather app will alert you to inclement conditions and allow you to amend your journey accordingly. The Met Office, AccuWeather and the BBC Weather apps are all highly reliable, offering long-range and largely accurate forecasts for the days and journeys ahead.
2. For planning your parking…
If you’re venturing to new places, it’s reassuring to know the parking options you have before you arrive. There are a number of apps designed to take the guesswork and frustration out of parking.
Parkopedia, JustPark and RingGo will guide you to millions of parking spaces across the UK, covering on-street parking bays and off-street car parks, free and paid spaces and generally help you find the best option.
AppyParking also shows its users the locations and real-time availability of disabled spaces – the only downside is that it’s currently limited to ‘all major UK cities and towns’ but not everywhere else.
Parkmobile and PayByPhone won’t help you find a parking space as effectively as those mentioned above, but both allow you to pay for a parking space via the app and without having to fumble around for coins. Sadly, no app yet provides an option to find and book a disabled parking space via your mobile phone screen – we hope one is at least in the pipeline.
3. For better road safety…
You are a careful, considerate and conscientious driver who always abides by the rules of the road, but it’s easy to be distracted if your phone beeps or rings during a journey. Several apps have been developed to address that problem, with LifeSaver (iTunes only) perhaps the best. Designed to block all calls and texts during your journey, and with younger drivers in mind but recommended for all, the apps allow you to concentrate fully on the road ahead.
And because you can’t be responsible for other drivers on the road, a dashboard camera app offers a cheap alternative to the increasingly popular standalone dashcam device. Smart Dash Cam transforms your phone into a dashcam by using its camera to record your journey for the period you require. In the event of an accident, that footage can be used as evidence – and while we hope that is never needed, it offers peace of mind.
4. For easier refuelling…
Because fuel prices rise and fall, and because there will be occasions where you need to refuel in an unfamiliar location, it’s always helpful to have an app to hand which tells you where to find fuel and where to find it at the best price. The PetrolPrices app does that job very well, with PlugShare doing a similar job for electric or hybrid car owners.
Going one very helpful step further, Shell’s fuelService app offers much the same but with the added feature of telling you which service stations have assistants available who can help you with refuelling. When you arrive, the ‘Pay at Pump’ option allows you to pay on your smartphone without ever having to exit your car.
5. For location essentials…
Sometimes, particularly in larger towns and cities we’re unfamiliar with, it’s all too easy to lose our bearings – and in the process, to lose our cars. Forgetting where you parked is not uncommon and the problem has been addressed by apps such as Find My Car, which logs the GPS of your car and guides you back via a map and the quickest route.
What3words can do the same job, the app having mapped the entire world into 3m squares, each with its own unique three-word address – ‘jolly.fuzzy.cones’ and many millions of others. Excellent for finding your bearings and relocating your car, the service is even better should you ever need to call out the emergency services and provide your exact location details. All Motability Scheme customers have RAC breakdown cover included – it makes sense to have the What3words app as well.
Want to find out more about what3words? Click here to read our article.
About the Motability Scheme
The Motability Scheme supports people in staying mobile by offering a unique, all-inclusive leasing package for brand new cars from all the major manufacturers. As well as cars the Scheme leases cars with adaptations, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles and scooters and powered wheelchairs.
If you’d like to find out more about the Scheme, request an information pack below and we’ll send you all the information that you need to make the right choice.