Hands Free: Staying Connected On The Road


You want to stay connected while you’re on the move. It’s tough when you’re travelling. This is especially true if you’re going alone. Here are some of the best driving apps on the market to help you.


How To Find Cheap Gas Stations, Restaurants, and Grocery Stores

If you use Google Maps, you’re going to love this new feature. If you don’t, you might want to think about making the switch. A recent Google Maps update added “Driving,” which is a feature allowing you to see a map of the surrounding area as you drive. Like most GPS units, it gives you an overview of the map, but you can use it to search nearby for gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores, or anything else.

Most GPS apps make you stop navigation, or make it harder for you to divert your route to find stuff like that. And, if you drive a newer Dodge Challenger, you can plug into the new interface in all vehicles allowing you to connect your iPhone or Android to the car’s built-in navigation and “infotainment” console.

This makes it much easier to see where things are, without getting into a car accident. You can also say “OK Google” to activate voice search so you can find places you want without using your hands.

Google will then read you a list of command prompts, like “Directions” and then activate navi mode when you find a place you want to go.


Get Alerts About Bad Conditions

Traffic is the pits. You want to avoid it (who doesn’t?). Google Maps has traffic alerts to let you know when things get real bad, but if you want the most from your navi app then get Waze. Now, the new Google Maps integrates Waze data, but not all of it. For the full-on experience, you need the Waze app. Waze is a social driving tool allowing you to find traffic problems. It crowdsources the information from real drivers out there on the road. The app tracks your driving, showing you congestion and wrecks, construction and everything in between (even speed traps), so you can avoid them.


Easy Shortcuts

Car dashboard apps are a dime a dozen, but apps like AutoMate is different. It brings the Android Auto style to the on-dash interface, making the UI look similar to your phone. AutoMate can also display your upcoming calendar events, read and respond to your incoming messages, and it can even manage your music controls.

If your phone is also your stereo and navi app, then you can get messages while driving. It’s handy because it pairs nicely with the Google Maps app.

The downside is you need to tap the screen for some of the functions. If you want to keep your eyes on the road, then use Drivemode hands-free overlay. You can block or receive calls with a wave or a swipe.


Remember Where You Parked

You know how hard it is to find a place to park. Best Parking can help you with that. It’ll hunt for the best rates so you’re not running around in circles only to find a lot costing more than a parking ticket.

Gilbert Pine spends much of his day behind the wheel. He's a gadgetry geek and is always trying out new apps to see which make his life easier, and of course, more fun!

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