The mobile apps that keep you driving happy*

Summer driving season is coming. With it comes fun drives, road trips and all manner of enjoyable time behind the wheel, whether just around the corner or across the country.

You can break down the elements of an enjoyable drive into: 1. knowing where you’re headed, 2. enjoying the journey, and 3. reaching your destination in relative tranquility.

We have found the mobile apps that are currently getting rave reviews for letting you have a good time while doing bits and pieces of all three of these.

  1. Knowing where you’re headed

  • Yelp: Yelp is still the community authority on entertainment and services, organized by proximity to your device’s location (GPS is required to be turned on for this feature). It even features a Monocle mode that allows you to use augmented reality to see what’s nearby, in any direction from where you are.
  • Kayak: Kayak is taking the lead in finding up to date information on everything from hotel rooms to flights, and can even help you book them, all from your mobile device.
  1. Enjoying the journey

  • Listen: This minimalist audio app uses simple gestures and large text to let your fingers do the navigating through your music library, and if and when it becomes necessary to look at your device to make a listening choice, you won’t need more than a moment’s glance to find what you’re looking for.

Audible: With the world’s largest selection of audiobooks, Audible can keep you in a story of your favorite genre for hours and more. The straightforward, easy-to-understand audio player works with your device’s existing player controls, and saves your place when you leave it, down to the second. Perhaps the best feature is the customizable 10-, 20- and 30-second rewind/skip-forward feature, which allows you to catch passages that you missed while focusing on other driving tasks.

  1. Reaching your destination in relative tranquility

  • MapQuest: MapQuest was one of the first mapping services on the Internet, and it maintains a strong presence to this day, even in the face of stiff competition from much larger services. But their navigation app has been garnering increasingly impressive reviews in the last year, and is not to be ignored when choosing an app to help you get turn-by-turn directions on your way to the destination.
  • MotionX GPS Drive: MotionX is a small player in the navigation app market, but they have a long history of providing premium features to users at affordable prices. Their MotionX GPS Drive app, which keeps a loyal fan base year after year, is worth your time and attention.

  • Waze: One of the things that can ruin a destination drive faster than any other is disappointment. Delays and detours from construction can change your mood from fun to fury in a flash. Waze is still the pack leader when it comes to keeping you aware, in real time, of the time costs of your route choices, and where to expect the time traps of construction and various other road conditions.

 

* Drive responsibly when using a mobile device. Here is an excerpt from the NHTSA policy on distracted driving:

The primary responsibility of the driver is to operate a motor vehicle safely. The task of driving requires full attention and focus. Drivers should resist engaging in any activity that takes their eyes and attention off the road for more than a couple of seconds. In some circumstances even a second or two can make all the difference in a driver being able to avoid a crash.

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