Using your phone behind the wheel is illegal. Get caught with your phone in your hand and you face three points on your driving licence and a fine of £100.
In fact, you could find yourself in court facing a disqualification and a maximum fine of £1,000.
So, keeping your phone out of reach while you’re driving is a pretty good idea. But that doesn’t mean your mobile isn’t a useful tool for improving your driving.
Here are five apps that will help you get to your destination without disruption, capture any problems you encounter and monitor your driving style for later evaluation.
If your go-to navigation app has always been Google Maps, we’d highly recommend giving Waze a try. It’s owned by Google and uses the company’s mobile phone data to track traffic patterns, but where it differs from Maps is that it more aggressively tries to route you around problems.
Users can also report problems such as crashes, jams or police cars to let others know what’s happening ahead of time.
It’s particularly useful in towns where there are more alternative routes to take. If a main road is gridlocked, the app will guide you down side streets to get you to your destination faster – or at least further up the queue!
Dashcams are becoming increasingly popular thanks to the fact they’re getting more affordable and are incredibly useful in the case of a crash.
But while they’re less expensive than they used to be they can still be quite pricey. That’s where the free app CamOnRoad comes in.
It uses your mobile phone camera to record the road ahead and can store video clips for later use. It can store these clips either directly to your phone or to the ‘cloud’ – every user gets 2GB of data free.
Android Auto lets you use your phone directly through your car’s infotainment system, but it’s only available on newer cars or with expensive aftermarket units.
AutoMate’s main screen looks a lot like the simple, blocky design used by the official Android app, and performs many of the same functions. It can read your text messages and perform functions via voice commands so you don’t have to take your hands off the wheel.
Dash – Drive Smart
With modern cars becoming increasingly complex, it can be difficult to keep tabs with everything that’s going on with it.
Fortunately, Dash has you covered. Connect an inexpensive ‘on-board diagnostic device’ to your car and connect it to the app for constant updates about your car and driving.
It can read’ check engine’ lights and tell you exactly what’s wrong with the car, monitor fuel economy, keep an eye on the engine temperature and record how long you’ve sat idling.
For parents worried about young drivers, Dash has a mighty appealing feature that records any incidents of extreme deceleration or broken curfews so you always know what your child is up to.
There are a number of apps that record your driving style, but the great thing about the Aviva Drive one is that it could actually save you money on your car insurance.
To make sure you don’t get in trouble with the law, the phone automatically records journeys using GPS, so you don’t have to press a button. If it’s recorded a journey in which you’re a passenger, you can delete it so someone else’s bad driving doesn’t affect your score!
It uses the accelerometer in your phone to record your cornering, braking and acceleration skills and gives you a score out of 10. The smoother you drive, the better your score.
This will improve your driving because it’ll make you think more about the inputs your making to the car. Being more careful with your car will not only improve fuel economy, it’ll reduce wear and tear, too.
Once you’ve got yourself a rating, you can then use that to get a discount on your car insurance with the company. Aviva reckons that drivers who score above 7.1 save an average of about £170.
Do you regularly use an app to assist you when driving? Let us know what it is in the comments below!