The number of mobile apps available is simply astounding. There’s around 1.6 million on Google Play, and more than 1.5 million are available through the Apple App Store. That’s more than anyone could ever use, and there are plenty that would rarely be found unless they were stumbled across or managed to drum up some publicity.
As you would expect from that number, there are many that are either useful or fun for drivers and passengers.
Keep in mind, of course, that if you’re the driver, your phone needs to be secured or mounted while driving, and you can’t touch it in traffic. Passengers can use the phone of course, but drivers should be wary of using any device (even one that is secured or mounted) or app that could be deemed distracting. You could be penalised for driving without due care and attention.
Hudway: head-up display
Hudway is one of the most popular ‘head-up display’ apps, available for both Android and Apple devices. It will project a speedometer and navigation information onto the inside of the windscreen and is free via the App Store or Google Play.
We downloaded it and found it easy to use. You can pre-program and save routes to avoid chewing through data on the move and it also issues audible directions. However, the lady in the app sounds cranky and listening to her bark out directions is not the most pleasant experience.
Open the app and load the trip when settled in the vehicle, secure the phone to the dash, switch to head-up display mode and a reflection will be visible in the windscreen. This app will project a basic outline of the road ahead, the distance until the next turn and the speed at which the vehicle is travelling.
SpeedClock: radar gun
SpeedClock is like a radar gun on your phone. It’s not much fun to use in the car but it could easily chew up hours of your time outside the vehicle. It’s available through the Apple App Store exclusively, and costs $2.99.
It measures the speed of cars, dogs, runners, boats, balls… anything that moves, really. To get started, enter the height of the object or distance from the object you’d like to measure. There are inbuilt tools to help calculate a distance estimation and it uses motion detection to track the object.
We tried having someone run past, went out to the street to measure the speed of passing cars and cyclists and even put it to the test during a heated office table tennis match. It can be a little fiddly and we can’t vouch for its accuracy, but it is fun.
Get it here: iOS
XLR8: acceleration based sound producer
Ever wanted to make your Mitsubishi Mirage sound like a muscle car? XLR8 is an app that responds to your driving and pumps out a raucous sound.
For $2.99 you can download the app to your iPhone or Android phone. Plug the phone in to the aux point or connect via Bluetooth, open the app and you’re ready to go. It uses the phone to follow the revs as you drive, building a rowdy chorus that mirrors the gear changes as you accelerate and slow down. The phone should be secured in an upright position to get the best result.
The sound plays through your car speakers so you can crank it up at traffic lights and confuse passers-by. It will even idle noisily when your car is at a standstill and make screeching noises through corners. The Classic V8 symphony comes with the app and you can purchase others including NASCAR, Ford GT40, Ferrari and Lamborghini.
L Driver Test: keep your knowledge up-to-date
Great for new drivers preparing to sit their driver’s test, but also an excellent refresher for more seasoned road users. The Australia Driver Knowledge Test Questions app includes a free mock test which consists of 40 randomly selected questions, or you can purchase tests that focus on a range of topics including road signs, general knowledge, intersections, traffic lights, alcohol and drugs, negligent driving and lanes.
Open the app, select ‘mock test’, choose your state and you’ll soon find out exactly how good you really are. This is targeted at Apple users, though there are plenty of similar apps available from the App Store and Google Play.
Get it here: iOS
GasBuddy: find the best fuel prices
Who doesn’t like to save a few dollars or cents? GasBuddy is a free app available on both Apple and Android devices that uses your location to help you find the cheapest fuel in your area.
If you’re prepared to drive to save a penny at the pump, you can sort by price to get the cheapest options over a wider search area. The prices are updated by other users (data is crowd-sourced) and as well as the cost per litre, the username of the person who submitted the information is visible, as is the amount of time that has passed since the update.
If you want to contribute by reporting fuel prices you can sign up, but you don’t have to in order to use the app. Though, as an incentive, those that are active members have the opportunity to win free fuel cards by earning points.
Let us know the apps you enjoy using with your car by commenting below.