Use these seven innovative apps to make your drive to work more fun and efficient, and less stressful and time-consuming.
Driving to work can be just as stressful and unpleasant as a bad day at the office. Thankfully, there is a range of apps designed to make your journey quicker, less stressful and more efficient. Whether you want to find the fastest route to your destination, get live traffic updates, hear calming music or know how much petrol your car is using, there is an app for you.
Real-time traffic apps
There is a selection of real-time traffic apps available. All of them work pretty much the same way but differ in how quickly they are updated to take into account changed traffic conditions. Try a few and find one that works best for you and your commute.
- Waze: Waze is a community-based traffic and navigation app. It relies on community users inputting information as it is happening. It’s available for free on both Apple and Android phones.
- Live Traffic NSW: This app is linked directly to NSW Roads and Maritime Services’ Traffic Management Centre. It provides instantaneous traffic and incident reports for all road networks within NSW. It’s available for free on both Apple and Android phones.
- Auto: This app allows you to save regular trips and get live information about the route before you start your journey. It’s available for free on both Apple and Android phones.
- TomTom app: TomTom navigation can run straight from your iPhone without the need for a separate device. It displays the shortest route to your destination and any delays on the way. It also has red light and speed camera warnings. The TomTom app runs on Apple devices with iOS9 and above.
Spotify helps make your journey more enjoyable by streaming music you actually want to hear. No more silly presenters, loud ads or hits from the 90s, just your kind of music.
Spotify is a digital music streaming service that works like radio, but is transmitted over the Internet. You can make your own playlist or look up playlists of friends or musicians. Spotify “learns” your taste and after a while will start giving you music that is similar to what you have previously selected.
It is free for the basic version, which can be used on your computer or phone, but does have occasional ads. Spotify Premium is $0.99 for the first three months and then $11.99 per month afterwards. It comes without ads, and allows you to play on demand and listen offline.
MotorMouth helps you find the best deal on petrol. The app collates price information for fuel at over 4,500 service stations across Australia. Simply open the app and a map will display all the petrol stations in your area and their price.
You can save your favourite locations to compare prices and track historical changes. If you find a great deal you can share it with your family and friends within the app.
MotorMouth is free to use and accessible from a smartphone.
Dash connects your car's engine with your smartphone. The app integrates with an on-board diagnostics device and displays all kinds of information about your car's performance and current state.
It can tell you how efficiently you are using petrol, when regular maintenance is required, and the meaning of all those little lights on the dashboard. It also helps you drive better by suggesting changes to your habits.
The app is free but requires an on-board diagnostic device to work. They range in price from $10 to $99.
ParkHound helps you park your car without the hassle and stress of finding a spot. It works just like Airbnb: people list their empty parking space and you book it and park there. Spaces can be rented for hours, days, weeks or months depending on your requirements.
ParkHound also has Bay Pay, which is a payment service for metered parking. Simply log in and pay for the bay you are parked in without buying tickets or using coins.
Both services are free to use and are available on a smartphone.
iOnRoad is a driver assistance tool. It works by monitoring the road ahead of you and providing a warning for possible dangers or potential collisions. To use it, simply mount your phone on the windscreen so that the camera has an unobstructed view of the road ahead. The app displays a video image of the road ahead on the phone's screen and has a range of features to highlight possible dangers. It can also be set to save the video, so you will always have a record of any incidents.
iOnRoad requires iOS 7 or Android 2.2 and at least a 1GHz processor. It works best on iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S VI, and LG G4. It can work on other phones but results are not guaranteed.
Driving while using a phone is both dangerous and illegal. Make sure you have your phone and apps set up before you start driving. Get a good phone mounting bracket and connect the phone to your car’s stereo system through Bluetooth.
New apps come out all the time, so be sure to keep an eye out for new services that make driving easier.