With smartphone mirroring becoming the norm in newer cars, there’s a whole world of information and entertainment that you can access with one tap of the touchscreen. But which apps are the best for getting you there on time, keeping your passengers entertained and giving you all the info you’d ever need for your journey?
Free (iOS and Android) If your car doesn’t have built-in sat nav, fear not. Waze is a handy alternative to Google/Apple maps, with a few extra touches that’ll help you reach your destination more easily. As users can update it with traffic information in real time, it doesn’t just alert you to roadworks – it also shows you any accidents and recent snarl-ups on the way and works out another route for you. It’ll also tell you the location of speed cameras, so you can say goodbye to sneaky snaps and scary fines.
Free (iOS and Android) Trying to find a parking space in a busy town or city is a pretty stressful experience that can cause explosive in-car arguments that no app can fix. Use JustPark, though, and you can book and pay for your parking space in advance. Just choose a spot from the map, find the cheapest (or nearest) space to your destination and input your start time and leaving time. Done! 2.5 million users swear by it. Trust us, your other passengers will thank you for it.
Free (iOS and Android) Why shell out for a dash cam when you can transform your phone into one? Using auto loop technology, this app performs exactly the same functions as a dash cam, with collision detection and automatic recording on impact. Worried that your phone will be out of action while it’s busy being a dash cam? The good news is that you can still play music while it records and your older videos will be overwritten to save storage on your device.
(£1.99, iOS only) Choosing a pit stop can be a bit of a gamble. Will it be dry sandwiches and smelly toilets, or pristine conveniences and a gleaming food court? This app contains details of every single service station in Britain to help you decide where to pitch up for a comfort break. It also saves all your motorway faves and tells you whether or not there’s a Greggs at the next stop. You can even use it to book an emergency Travelodge if you’re really running out of steam. How did you ever live without it?
Free (iOS only) Keep an eye on prices at the pump with this app that allows you to search for the cheapest fuel in the area. By allowing you to compare prices, you get more control over what you spend, and you can search by fuel type, petrol station or distance – up to 30 miles from any UK postcode. With 98% of UK petrol stations on the list, it offers good coverage and users claim to have saved up to £220 a year by comparing prices.
Free (iOS and Android) If you drive a plug-in or an EV, you can banish range anxiety by downloading Zap-Map, which allows you to plan your journeys while never being too far away from a charging point. The map features 10,000 charging points across the country and more are constantly being added. You can use filters to find out which charging points suit your vehicle, schedule charging stops, and identify which points are available or currently in use. Users can help other EV drivers by leaving reviews on the effectiveness of certain chargers and add any new locations that aren’t on the map.
Free (iOS and Android) Remember when you had to use those scary orange phones at the side of the road? Instead, you can report a breakdown with an app that pinpoints your location via GPS and tells you when your technician is on their way. Green Flag’s Rescue Me service does just that, as does the AA app, which also has a members’ area that gives you a route planner, info on fuel stops and 20% discounts on food and drink at 1,000 locations.