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Trends in Driving Apps: What to Expect for 2013
It comes as no surprise that 2013 has already been deemed the year of the connected car, and car manufacturers are delving into new technology that will allow you to be wired into the internet and everything it has to offer while you're on the road. But the more affordable way to make use of new technology that can help you in all kinds of areas when you're in the car is by taking advantage of popular driving apps. Apps that encourage smart driving, help you navigate the road, and make your journeys away from home a lot easier are on the rise. These are the kind of apps you'll see for your Apple device this year, and the ones you'll want to take advantage of as innovations in connected driving continue to change the way you think about getting behind the wheel. 1. GPS Apps There are dozens of solid GPS apps available, and they range from free to on the expensive side, depending on their snazzy capabilities. From something more streamlined and straightforward like Google Maps for iOS, to the awesome detail and wealth of information that Navigon USA can provide, GPS apps give more than directions. You can locate restaurants, hotels, and points of interest by using the search function, and there are even specialty apps that direct you to the cheapest gas station or the most scenic route to your destination. GPS is definitely here to stay, and no matter what kind of navigation you need, there's an app to help you get where you are going. In 2013, GPS apps are set to become more user-friendly, with plenty of competition cropping up for Apple's notoriously faulty Apple Maps, which it has promised to fix this year. 2. Texting While Driving Apps Public awareness of the dangers of texting while driving has increased due to reports that texting caused over 25 percent of car accidents in the past year. Mobile apps are doing their part to help drivers combat the urge to text and drive. Many of the iPhone versions of these apps involve voice-activated virtual assistants such as DriveSafe.ly, where you can hear and respond to emails, Facebook, and Twitter messages through voice technology. The other big category in these types of apps are apps geared towards parents, such as Canary, where you can monitor your teenager's cell phone use in real time and find out if they're reaching for the phone at speeds of over 12 mph. It's a smart way to deal with a widespread issue and an example of how apps can even save lives. Several of the best Smartphone apps for hands-free texting are rolling out iPhone versions soon, so it's a sure bet this trend will continue. 3. Traffic Apps Many GPS apps also detect traffic, but there are plenty of driving apps specifically geared towards turn-by-turn navigation that detects every traffic problem in real time. The Sigalert app has the most current information by far, but other apps like Waze allow you to see congestion clearly on your map and adjusts to your particular route and style of driving. Avoiding traffic jams is one of the most practical way that mobile apps can help you. The iPhone app Twist actually estimates your arrival time so you can let people know if you will be late, combining traffic, GPS, and voice-activated virtual assistant abilities. Look for more apps like that in the future, as well as US versions of popular overseas traffic apps like Twitraffic, and apps that are based on user reports, getting you the most up-to-date traffic information possible. 4. Road Trip Apps Many of the GPS and traffic apps are also great for long road trips, but there are plenty of other apps that can help you when you're driving into unfamiliar territory. Road Trip Weather lets you know the driving conditions on the highways, and apps like LocalEats or Hotel Tonight are good for finding last-minute restaurant reservations or vacant hotel rooms along your route. There's even an app to help you find the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot from your location. Road trip apps are becoming more and more geared towards helping you travel economically, and in the future, there will be a focus on finding bargains, from cheap gas to the nearest burger. Mobile apps have significantly improved the way of life for most people, and improving how you get around is a big part of that. In 2013 and beyond, the hassles of driving could become more manageable than ever before, which is good news as the streets become more congested and your schedule gets a little more hectic. Now you can reach for your phone and not have to worry about where the road takes you.