Gone are the days of the physical map and print-out directions. Even driving has gone digital, and there are a quite a few ways technology has made driving more enjoyable and easier. If you’re looking for the best driving apps to help you do everything from finding the best gas prices to getting to your destinations, we’ve rounded up the car apps that make your life easier.
The Best Driving Apps of 2018
Before you download these driving apps, remember to remain responsible about using your phone while driving. There’s no doubt that these car apps can be immensely helpful, but don’t get caught up staring at your phone while behind the wheel—that’s a huge no-no.
1. Google Maps
From navigation to finding places to eat dinner, Google Maps is equipped with all the perks that come with being a Google product. That means it’s hooked up to Google street views, giving you a true look at what the restaurant or dentist office is really like before you show up. It also has a huge inventory of such businesses, meaning you can find just about anything relative to your location if you simply search for it.
If you are hoping to become a better driver, there’s an app for that. Aceable is a fantastic online traffic school app that can help train you in various areas of driving. Whether you need driver’s education or even a course in defensive driving, Aceable will help you get more comfortable behind the wheel and a safer driver in the process. (Get a more in-depth review of the app here.) Even better? It can even help you get insurance discounts. Download it here.
Aptly named, Roadtrippers is the indispensable app for those long treks on the open road. Especially for people who don’t like planning or need a schedule to stick to, this app has tools to help you completely map out the trip, complete with features catered to road trips. Searchable items range from hotels to campgrounds to places to stop and check out on the way, and everything has reviews. Kind of like Yelp and Google Maps combined for people going on super far drives. It can even give you an estimate on how much gas you’ll use, which is a great budgeting and planning feature.
If you haven’t read our article about the Waze vs. Google Maps debate, we recommend checking that out for a full overview of each app. However, for this post’s sake, here’s the gist of Waze: Waze is most helpful when driving in heavy traffic. It compiles live traffic reporting from your fellow drivers so you can jump on an alternate route before you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper madness.
Sometimes, your vehicle can let you down. And while it would be nice to have access to a trusted mechanic anywhere, anytime, it’s just not realistic. If your car has issues while you’re in an unfamiliar city, RepairPal will become a useful resource so that you don’t get ripped off. The app will give you average quotes for the specific repair needed on your specific vehicle, so you can stand your ground at a new mechanic’s shop. The app also helps you find highly rated car mechanics in your area.
Sure, there are plenty of gas-finding apps on the market, but GasBuddy is especially reliable thanks to its giant database of gas stations and regular updates. The app has almost every gas station in the United States in its database, so you’ll always be able to find the cheapest gas near you, no matter where you are. Plus, user corrections and updates are always coming in, so you can expect a pretty accurate gas price.
Electric car owners, this one’s for you! Many electric car drivers know the struggle of trying to map out all the available charging stations along their trip. With PlugShare, you get an interactive map of the 40,000+ charging stations across the U.S., so you should nevre be without a charge. Even though the app is quite basic, it does what it needs to do. It can even tell you if the charging station you’re heading towards is out of available space.
If you have an Android and a sub-par dashboard interface, DashDroid will be your new favorite app. With a central display and eight custom buttons tailored to the apps you use the most, DashDroid is a dashboard replacement with convenience on the mind. You can use it for everything from playing music to checking the weather to hands-free calling and texting.
Safety should always be a priority when you’re driving, and LifeSaver and can certainly help you be safer on the road. Meant to help you break your dangerous distracted driving habits, this app has a rewards system that can be set up by a parent to keep teen drivers safe. LifeSaver disables phone use while driving, and with its GPS monitoring, it automatically lets friends or family know when you have arrived safely at your destination.
Though it requires a separate attachment, Automatic will help you stay on top of your vehicle’s diagnostics. It plugs into your car’s diagnostic port so you can see all kinds of stats such as gas mileage, engine performance and health, and more. The dongle (the part that plugs into the port) is $100, but it pays for itself pretty quickly—it can even alert authorities if you’ve been in a bad accident. Plus, most of the apps you can use with Automatic are free.
Are you ready to try out the best driving apps of 2018? Let us know if you’ve used any of these and if you have any favorites.