Between gridlocked traffic and teeter-tottering gas prices, there’s nothing fun about inching to work in traffic that’s backed up for miles.
But the good news is that technology can help you avoid some of the worst traffic tie-ups. There are a number of smartphone apps and tools that use real-time transit information to give you the power to choose faster, more efficient routes. Of course, data is no substitute for carving out enough time to reach your destination, but it does help ease the pain of traffic delays that can otherwise cloud a commute. Here are some apps that may help you make the most of every minute:
Waze: Has a friend ever alerted you to bad traffic on your commute, prompting you to take an alternative route? Imagine if you could get similar instant traffic updates from every car on the road. Waze does just that, crowd-sourcing traffic data to help you find the quickest route to work every day. Based on feedback from other users, this driving app alerts you to heavy traffic and even reroutes your commute with turn-by-turn directions.
INRIX Traffic: Like Waze, INRIX helps you avoid traffic by giving real-time updates. But INRIX takes these updates a step further, predicting future traffic based on previous traffic patterns and known congestion areas. INRIX also gives you access to personalized directions based on your preferred daily route.
Gas Price Locator: Still commuting without a gas price comparison app? Allstate’s Gas Price Locator may be a good choice. The app helps you locate nearby gas stations and supplies you with the latest gas prices. A prize giveaway system encourages users to constantly post the price updates, ensuring real-time accuracy.
Motion X GPS Drive: Your GPS unit just got an upgrade. This app for the iPhone and iPad combines turn-by-turn driving directions with INRIX traffic data, a magnetic compass, posted speed limits and more. Whether you’re driving in a new city or commuting in your hometown, Motion X GPS Drive can help you navigate the best route from Point A to Point B.
Winter Wake-Up: Don’t let a surprise overnight snowfall make you late for work in the morning. This free app monitors overnight weather conditions in your area and will wake you up early should snowfall or freezing weather occur. Use the extra time to scrape off the car, clear the driveway, and carefully drive to work. There’s even a a”sleep in” setting so the app won’t wake you should the weather be too extreme; after all, you probably don’t want to miss sleeping in on a snow day!
Does your daily commute combine driving with a ride on a train or a bus? In addition to the apps named above, you may want to check out apps like Roadify, which can help keep you in the know about the status of your bus or train. Many transit apps only provide information for transit systems in some areas, so make sure your city is covered before downloading.
Apps can be a great source of information, but always remember to use them before you start driving so you can concentrate on the raod.
By using informational apps before you leave home, you can head into your commute armed with knowledge about the current conditions. Even if you still have to put lots of miles on your car, maybe you can spend less time sitting in traffic and make your commute more enjoyable.
This guest post comes from the editors of The Allstate Blog, which helps people prepare for the unpredictability of life.