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7 Essential Apps Every Driver Should Have On Their Phone

April 4, 2020 Cars By
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The smartphone has become an integral part of the driving experience for many Americans. Nearly every manufacturer incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto into their infotainment setups (and thankfully, they do it without making it part of a subscription plan). An array of apps on offer have rendered road trip staples like the map, the guidebook, and decades of accrued local knowledge outmoded, if not obsolete.

Here are seven essential driving apps you should download right away to improve your drive.


The Apple Maps vs. Google Maps navigation war can be tough to follow. Instead, try Waze, which is now compatible with Apple CarPlay. It delivers turn-by-turn navigation as the others do, but its strength is user-submitted data, which permits real-time rerouting to avoid traffic. Other so-called “Wazers” can flag good-to-know hazards like hidden police cars and potholes — as well as less-helpful things, like every single dead animal on the Canadian stretch of your drive home from Nantucket (true story).


Navigation apps help you get where you need to go. But when you get there, where do you park? Search for spots and rates easily with Parkopedia’s database of more than 70 million parking spots in 15,000 cities.


Roadtrippers streamlines the road trip planning process. You can plan and save itineraries, collaborate with other users, find off-beat destinations and get reviews for millions of destinations along your route.


Every penny you save counts. The GasBuddy app allows users to find and share the best gas prices in their area. You can also join the app’s Pay with GasBuddy and Pay with GasBuddy Premium plans to save five cents (or more) per gallon, as well as get services like roadside assistance.


Perhaps you need to plug in your car, instead of fill up a gas tank. Plugshare provides comprehensive data for more than 300,000 charging points from every major charging network worldwide. Users can also get station ratings and real-time availability.


New cars interact with your smartphone — which means you’re leaving a personal data trail in every vehicle you use. The Privacy4Cars app saves you time (and frantic Googling) by providing simple, step-by-step instructions for deleting your personally-identifiable information from any car.


The best apps are simple, perform a cumbersome task automatically — and save you a boatload of time. Microsoft’s MileIQ lets you easily track and report your work driving and travel expenses to make it easier when it comes time to file your taxes.

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Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol's Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He's based outside Detroit.

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