Best Driving Apps: Cruise Through Your Drive with These Handy Apps

BY - 7th October 2018
 

I’ll never forget a childhood holiday in Dubai, when our guide appeared late one fine morning with the grim news that some guests being serviced by his tour company had not returned from their self-drive. They had been presumed lost. He and his fellow driver-guides had spent the night searching different routes and had finally found the guests safe at dawn.

This was before the current age of smart-phones, which are now a solution to almost every difficulty. In this day and age, we advise you to invest a few minutes setting up the best driving apps to ensure your safety and convenience on your next drive.

Apps for Driving

Say no to texting & driving, yes to navigation help!

NAVIGATION APPS

1. Waze

While Google Maps is the industry standard where turn-by-turn navigation is concerned, driving enthusiasts will often direct you to Waze because it not only advises you on traffic, roadwork and accidents, but it also offers you the option of checking routes, traffic and estimated commute time for other parts of the day. Using a social network, the app also reports where the next speed radar or police van might be stationed, which is very handy for Dubai roads. It also does not let the driver use the app while the vehicle is moving to ensure complete safety. Although, a passenger can still use it, if you choose the “passenger” option on the app. If you’re driving solo, you can always pull over and select your preferred route.

$$: Free
Compatibility: Android and iOS
Thumbs up for: Accident and roadwork updates.
Thumbs down for: Some user reviews complain that the app shuts down after 2-3 hours of driving and must be restarted.

2. RTA Smart Drive

This app’s claim to fame is the fact that it requires no internet to search and to navigate, just GPS. It also recognizes voice commands in both English and Arabic, prompts you on points of interest, parking zones, routes that avoid tolls and unpaved roads. It even gives you speed limit alerts.

$$: Free
Compatibility: Android and iOS
Thumbs up for: Offline navigation
Thumbs down for: Some users report loss of saved places and auto-routing after an update.

3. Google Map Tricks

Google Maps on Phone

Google Maps – The comfy, trusted app for navigation

You can optimize lesser-known features available on Google Maps. Since it comes pre-loaded on most phones, it makes good sense to explore all its benefits:

– Download and save the map of an area with low network connectivity (or none) for navigation later when you are offline.

– Create your own map by adding places you’ve visited – this is helpful if you plan to return or if you’re looking to save and share itineraries for your friends to follow in your footsteps.

– Calibrate your compass by turning your phone in a figure 8 motion a few times.

– Find your car by tapping the blue location dot and clicking ‘save your parking’ once you’ve found a spot and parked.

– Need to zoom in and out with one hand? Double tap the screen and press down on the second tap (i.e. tap tap and hold). Then drag your finger up or down the screen to zoom in or out

DIAGNOSTIC APPS

1. Dash

Like most diagnostic apps, you require an OBD (on-board diagnostics) device to access the performance metrics of your car via your phone. Once you have purchased the Dash OBD device you need to plug it under your steering wheel and pair your car to your phone via Bluetooth to diagnose any problems on-the-go.

Dash Driving App

Drive Smart with Dash!

However, even without the device, you enjoy a few helpful tools such as vehicle servicing and gas price information and you can look up the various causes for any warning lights lit up on your, well, dash.

$$: Free
Compatibility: Android and iOS
Thumbs up for: Turns your car, into a safer, more cost efficient and socially connected way to get around.
Thumbs down for:  Some users report glitches, but the support team responds immediately.

2. MrUsta

If you haven’t yet discovered the convenience of this app, download it before your upcoming drive. Get a quote and breathe a sigh of relief as you call for a mechanic on-the-go, whenever necessary. Car problems on a long journey can be a nightmare, but fret no more, experts are a tap away.

$$: Free
Compatibility: Android and iOS
Thumbs up for: Up to 5 quotes per job, ratings and the new ‘un-assign’ option.
Thumbs down for:  A handful of users had problems creating accounts but the service team reportedly responds immediately.

COMFORT AND CONTROL APPS

1. My Drive UAE

This app provides a huge convenience during summers when you are unable to find indoor parking. Start your vehicle a few minutes before for the AC to turn on and cool the car down by the time you are ready to start driving. With this app, you can also check from miles away if you’ve remembered to lock your car. This one’s for the worry-worts among us!

Additionally, you can check driving statistics, and know if your vehicle has been towed or bumped in real-time which is especially helpful when you are driving into a new place or getting out of your comfort zone.

Lending your car to a friend (or child) and don’t want it to leave a certain geographic radius? This app allows you to set up geofencing as well.

$$: Free
Compatibility: Android and iOS
Thumbs up for: Tackling UAE specific problems like overheated car interiors.
Thumbs down for: Only available for 2017 Toyota Land Cruisers. Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Nissan are some other manufacturers who have similar apps for a few of their more recent models.

ENTERTAINMENT APPS

1. Audible

Who needs friends when you’ve got audio books!

Download the Audiobooks by Audible app (by Amazon) to enjoy audio-books on the go. They have a collection of 850,000 audio books with popular favourites like Stephen King and Ken Follett to pick from or less commonplace options like Khaled Hosseni and Rajaa Alsanea, or Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime.

$$: 30-day free trial
Compatibility: Android and iOS
Thumbs up for: Volume of options
Thumbs down for: Some users report glitches with some UAE credit/ debit cards.

2. Overcast

If you’re driving alone, you might miss having a friend’s chatter to keep you entertained. Or perhaps you want a break from your loud-mouth companions constant chatter. Or maybe you just want someone to keep you awake with something interesting because music makes you nod off.

Either way, Overcast gives you a wide choice of podcast topics to enjoy: business, comedy, politics and news, sports or just browse the ‘most recommended’ list for anything that catches your fancy. You can configure short-cuts for car control and that is what makes it the perfect podcast app for long drives.

$$: Free
Compatibility: iOS
Thumbs up for: Download shows and listen on the go; compatible with some car radios.
Thumbs down for: Not available on Android

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