When it comes to driving apps for your iPhone, you got your usual suspects — Apple Maps and Google Maps. But some of the best traffic apps for iPhone are lesser known apps with unique functionality. Here’s my personal list of the best iOS apps for driving.
(If you have an android phone, you’ll have to wait for someone else to write that post — I’m an apple guy to the core.)
Apple Maps (with Apple Watch)
I know, I know… I know what you’re saying. “Whaaa… Apple Maps? BWAHAHAHA!” Yes, it got off to a rough start. And yes, I laughed at the Silicon Valley joke:
“How bad is this? Be honest. Is this Windows Vista bad? It’s not iPhone 4 bad, is it? Don’t tell me this is Zune bad.”
“I’m sorry, Gavin. It’s Apple Maps bad.”
But here me out. First of all, Apple Maps has gotten much, much better. But you know the real reason I’ve grown to love it?
Apple Maps shines if you have an Apple Watch.
When I have Apple Maps on my wrist, I can just raise my wrist to see the next step, and then put it back down and no longer be distracted by anything.
My favorite thing about Apple Maps on Apple Watch is that it uses different sounds AND different taps to indicate right or left turns. So even without looking at a map or annoying robot voices, I can know which way I should go.
Tapped turn indicators are particularly handy if you have a motorcycle. I don’t like the idea of mounting my phone because of the distraction and knowing my luck it would fall off while I’m on the freeway.
inRoute is a little like Apple/Google Maps on steroids. It’s chock full of features (some of which you have to pay for). But the app itself is free, and so is my favorite thing about it: waypoint optimization.
Whether you’re preparing for a road trip or just have several errands to run in the same day, inRoute will help you out.
Simply add all the individual places you want to go, then choose “Optimize Waypoint Order”. inRoute reorders your destinations to create the fastest route.
I took advantage of this when I went to Norway. I rented a car for part of the trip because there was so much I wanted to see, and inRoute helped me create a route that took me by fjords, gorges, and cliffs, and then back to where I started — all without any backtracking.
There are plenty of other features, but waypoint optimization is by far my favorite.
I. Love. Road trips. Love em! And (as anyone who knows me would tell you) I love apps. Roadtrippers combines two of my greatest loves.
What I love about Roadtrippers is its ability to find fun and exciting things to do on your trip.
Punch in your destination, and it’ll show you hotels, food, camping sites, points of interest, and more along your route. You can also search for these points of interest in your immediate area, for when you’re staying put for a night or two.
Roadtrippers even has built-in road guides for when you have a hankering for a voyage but don’t really know where to go.
It’s important to stay hydrated when you’re covering long stretches of freeway. You know what that means? Pee breaks.
Rest Stops is for those moments when you wonder if you can make it to the next rest stop. Just open the app and you can find rest stops in your area or along your route.
You can see how far it is to the nearest rest stop, specify your direction (eastbound, northbound, etc), and use filters to find state welcome centers or rest stops with food.
This is somewhat of an honorable mention because Waze doesn’t really qualify as “lesser known” and that’s what I was going for with this blog post.
But nevertheless, this cutesy app is really handy for alerts when you approach police, accidents, or other things. So sometimes I do use it, and I especially like that I can set it to alert me about conditions without hearing the turn-by-turn directions.
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