We think about smartphones as being destructive to our driving habits, and they are often the cause of fatal car accidents.
If you have a consistent problem with speeding or you have other bad driving habits, however, a smartphone may actually end up saving your life if you use the right technology.
There are a number of smartphone apps that can help you slow down and be a more mindful and safe driver. There are also apps that can just generally make your life easier when you’re behind the wheel.
The following are some must-have apps to improve your driving skills and experience behind the wheel.
The Waze app has grown and become one of the most popular options for drivers who want to avoid traffic and headaches along the way.
With the Ways App, you get turn-by-turn navigation based on user-submitted data. That means you’ll have rerouting in real-time so you can avoid traffic.
The Waze app will even point out hazards like potholes in the road and let you know if there’s a hidden police car coming up.
You can use Waze to find parking in a big city, with the Navigation screen, where you’ll see a blue Parking icon.
Another great feature of Waze that a lot of users don’t even know about is the option to find out the best time to leave. You can click the option at the top of your screen, and the app shows when the traffic will be the worst, so you can avoid it.
With the Speedometer feature, you can get a warning alert when you go over a certain speed.
The TrueMotion app is geared toward helping families become better, safer drivers.
With TrueMotion, which is a free app, you can find out where family members are and how they drove to get there.
If you’re the parent of a teen, you can see if they’re driving responsibly, and the entire family can have a friendly competition to use the app to see who’s the better and safer driver. Each car trip is graded on a scale of up to 100 points based on responsible and safe driving habits, such as speed and whether or not you’re driving aggressively.
LifeSaver Distracted Driving App
The LifeSaver distracted driving app operates silently in the background of your phone until it’s needed. Then when detected, it can prevent distracted driving.
There’s automatically a block and a deterring notification on your smartphone while your car is in motion. Unless you’re driving, the app isn’t seen on your phone.
On the iPhone version of the app, you can access navigation tools and hands-free calls.
Drive Safe & Save
You might be more compelled to work on your driving skills if there’s a financial incentive to do so, which is the idea behind State Farm’s Drive Safe & Save app.
Just for signing up, you get a discount code. Then when it’s time to renew your State Farm policy, you’ll get a rate based on how you drive.
The app pairs with a Bluetooth beacon that State Farm sends to you.
You can review your trips on maps that will show you if you were engaging in unsafe driving behaviors like fast cornering or rapid acceleration. You’ll get tips to improve your driving scores, and your trips are recorded automatically, so you don’t have to manually start the app when you drive.
The Roadtrippers apps help you plan ahead for a car trip. That can mean that you’re more at ease when you’re behind the wheel, and you’re not fumbling on your phone to figure out where to go next.
With this app, you can save your favorite places, and it will also show you interesting places located along your route.
It includes offline maps in case you lose service, and you can check traffic conditions in real-time while you’re on the road.
Finally, there’s the Wavyn app.
It provides you with alerts to avoid collisions, and you get speed limit warnings so you know when you need to slow down. It prevents you from using the phone while you’re driving too.
Wavyn uses advanced artificial intelligence algorithms as well as your phone’s back camera to scan traffic and monitor your speed. It’s like built-in car safety technology, but it’s accessible on your phone.
Distracted driving can be deadly, but there are ways you can use your phone that can actually help you stay safer when you’re behind the wheel.