Long gone are the days of stereotyped husband-wife arguments over directions. “Why don’t you just turn around and go to that gas station to ASK for directions!” has been replaced with, “Oh, just give me the phone, I’ll ask Siri or Google Maps.”
Plus, stand-alone GPS systems purchased separately and installed in the car are a thing of the past. All you need for navigation is your ubiquitous mobile device. Below are some of the life-saving apps that can help you find your way, as though you know where you are going the whole time.
Although Google Maps now uses the crowdsourced technology driven by Waze to accurately track traffic patterns, it is still the go-to for mobile navigation. Google Earth and Google Street View Car have mapped many parts of the world and continue to research and expand their scope.
While not always the most reliable for traffic prediction, their directions have the reputation for being accurate, with less leading you directly into lakes or closed highways. And good news for those eschewing the vehicle, Google Maps provides directions for traveling on foot, bike, or even using various public transportation options.
This app was formerly the upstart that threatened to upend Google Maps. Many fled to Waze because of its use of crowd-sourced information. Beyond simple bottlenecks or traffic slowdowns, Waze users report police presence, massive police activity, major accidents, and other information useful for drivers trying to find the fastest way across town.
One of the most impressive features of the app is its uncanny ability to tell you, to the minute, when you will arrive at your final destination, given that you can actually follow Waze’s suggestions. Sometimes the app will suggest a left-hand turn across four lanes of traffic with no stop signs or lights. Another downside is a lack of walking or public transportation options for navigation.
The default map program that comes with any iPhone is the Apple Maps navigation system. While it does have built-in traffic warnings in the same way as Google Maps and Waze, there are still a few kinks to be worked out. If you are avoiding highways or take a U-turn because of blocked roads, the app is not always ready to reroute and will attempt to force you back to the original route.
A feature that many find annoying, but some find equally useful, are occasional time updates pushed through notifications, letting the user know with current traffic how long it would take them to return to their home-set location.
Since its introduction in 2012, Apple Maps has continued to grow and fix bugs. Recently a patch was released to update to public transportation availability. Imperfect now, Apple Maps might soon be a heavy hitter in the navigation game’s future.
For long distance trips, many road-trippers forget that certain spots of the country are GPS and Wi-Fi dead zones. Should an unlucky driver get lost in one of these areas, all of the go-to apps will be rendered more or less useless, as they are operating on old information.
Even if it is a for-pay application, Co-Pilot will prevent losing your direction in unfamiliar territory, which is certainly worth the $7.99. Once your route is downloaded, you can find turn-by-turn navigation, as well as safe driving tips, such as upcoming cameras and current speed.
Marketed as a more personal navigation app, Scout by Telenav is one of the leading GPS tools on the market. It is the top-ranked app for iPhone and recently just made its way to Windows. It boasts an award-winning customizable navigation voice and allows you to search for familiar haunts and new spots with ease.
A problem with most navigation apps, and combined with an old phone, its downside is that it can be on the slow side and has trouble keeping up with the driver. Another major complaint is with frequent updating that undercuts certain functionalities that users like.
Nonetheless, Scout is overall a reliable app with multi-functionality and versatility. The Plus version for iPhone even features a cheap gas finder!
Be it a cross-country adventure or a rush across town, these navigation systems simplify your commute and make sure you find your way like a pro. Before hitting the road on a longer trip, make sure you get your vehicle maintained and running as best as possible.
Dillon’s Automotive will have you tuned-up and ready to journey in no time. Request a service today!