There’s dozens of Apps out there for the motorist with an iPhone, Android or Windows phone, but many rely on databases that apply to the USA only – great if you’re looking to car pool in Alabama or find a rest room along Route 66, but pretty useless for the UK or European driver really. The internet being truly global and all that, some US-biased Apps are worth looking at, but here’s a roundup of some of the more accessible and useful ones we’ve come across from a British or European perspective.
1. Auto Trader
An in-car App is only any good if you’ve got a car to use it in! Auto Trader ‘s App aims to make the drudge of ploughing through used car listings to find your prefect previously-loved motor a breeze, with thumbnails of cars and their prices and simple filters to search by brand, mileage or price range.
Once you’ve got it, keeping on the road requires insurance.
The Moneysupermarket Car Insurance App for iPhone or Android allows you to find and compare car insurance, comparing hundreds of quotes from a massive range of UK car insurance companies and purchasing straight from the phone. If you drop out of signal, the App remembers what stage you were in the application process so you don’t need to annoyingly go back to the start when the signal returns.
There may be times when you need to drive someone else’s car in a hurry or someone else needs to borrow or drive yours in an emergency. Temporary car insurance is a good way to have full protection without affecting your own policy and no claims bonus.
This iPhone and Android App may not be as sophisticated as MoneySupermarket’s (you still have to talk to someone to set the thing up) but it will give an instant quote and allow you to make a claim on the spot. It also gives a handy prompt list of all the details you should note down in case of an accident and automatically notes the GPS location of the accident and allows you to upload photos of any damage using your phone’s camera.
Running one – finding the cheapest petrol
4. Petrol Prices .com
5. What Gas Petrol Prices
http://www.whatgas.com/petrol-prices/index.html same idea as above with Apps available for iPhone, Android or Windows phone.
6. Road Trip Lite
This iPhone App enables you to keep track of your miles per gallon, fuel economy and running costs.
Knowing where you are, where to avoid and where to go
Very important! Trudging round a new town trying to remember where you parked is annoying. Wasting thousands of tonnes of petrol just by being stuck in traffic jams/fuming by road works is equally frustrating. If you don’t have a SatNav already installed or don’t fancy buying one, there are some Apps that can help.
Remember where we parked
7. Car Finder AR
Makes the business of locating your car again less of a challenge. This Android augmented reality App allows you log the location of your motor and get a real-life image of where you car is in relation to your present position (and a cool “Galaxy Quest radar view” where you are the “green thingy”). As well as giving you directions back to your car, it also features a parking meter timer and alarm.
8. Carrr Matey!
Carrr Matey! is a similar parking App for Android that allows you to log where you parked your car, making it easier to find again and also has a timer so you can get back before your parking ticket or meter expires. For some reason, everything is pirate themed, so If you’ve parked in a multi-storey car park, “Harbour Mode” will show you the exact location – arrrr!!
9. RAC Traffic and RAC Traffic+
Mobile Apps for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and Symbian^3 which use the most up-to-date traffic data available from all areas of the UK and display it on an interactive map. These apps will show the nearest traffic problem to you or by region. The comprehensive traffic information comes various traffic and road agencies and from “live” vehicle data, so it’s really up to date and accurate.
10. AA Route Planner
The AA’s Route Planner App offers maps and routes for the whole of Great Britain and Ireland for iPhone and Android. Unlike Google maps, this one refers to actual road signs so what you see on screen matches what you see in real life! You can select your starting point and destination by place name, address or post code and get interactive maps, directions, distances and approximate driving times for £1.99.
11. TomTom for the iPhone
The tie-in between the world’s top satellite navigation maker and Apple may be one of the most expensive Apps around at about £60, but then you do get TomTom’s excellent mapping and ease of use in a format for the iPhone.
Safe driving and avoiding getting caught
Using your hand held mobile phone to call or make texts while driving could result in prosecution. It’s not illegal to use hands-free phones, sat-navs and two-way radios, but you could face the same penalties as using a hand held phone if the police believe you’re not in proper control of your vehicle. Here are some Apps that might help you stay safe, legal and in touch. These are US-originated Apps but will work in the UK and Europe.
A handy App for both iPhone and Android that allows you to send SMS messages while you drive using advanced voice recognition software.
This App reads your text messages and E-mails out loud for you so you can keep in touch without having to take your hands off the wheel.
14. Cams Ahoy! Europe
Once you’ve hit the open road, you find it aint so open and tends to be littered with speed cameras. Most in town are sensibly placed and you wouldn’t want to exceed the limit in built up, urban or residential areas. However, others seem to be simply there on open stretches of road for no reason other than generating cash. With a database of 24,000 European speed cameras, this App will help keep you on the right side of the law with audible alerts, vibration and animated graphics.
If you splutter to a halt, you’ll want breakdown assistance in a flash.
15. AA Breakdown app
This App for iPhone and Android uses the GPS function on the phone to find your exact location, so a patrol heads straight for you. You don’t have to be an AA member to download or use the App, but you will be asked to join the AA when you need assistance and be charged an emergency breakdown fee.
Ideas from a post on carrentals.co.uk, some cool topics to discuss.