Contributed by James Umbach
By day, James writes programs for mobile apps. By night, he writes articles on the latest mobile apps. Let's just say James always has work to do and something to write about and that's a good thing.
The team from Budget Direct Car Insurance highlights the importance a smartphone can play in avoiding traffic incidents and in recording details in the unfortunate case of an accident. The built-in camera can be used to photograph the scene, the license plates of any other cars involved in the accident, or the other person’s driver’s license.
Here are five of our favourite car-related apps:
Text ‘n’ Drive
Available for both iPhones and Androids, this app reads text messages and emails aloud so you don’t have to take your hands off the wheel. You can also dictate messages back to your phone using speech-to-text technology via Bluetooth or your phone’s speakerphone. The voice recognition isn’t bad, although you can always expect a few faults and it has difficulty deciphering HTML emails. You need to purchase the upgraded version to have access to all of the functionality, including replying to messages by voice and unlimited voice-to-text conversations.
This free app provides you with up-to-date information on speed cameras, accidents and traffic jams. You can choose from six different languages and nine voice themes depending on if you want a dinky-di Aussie or a hillbilly in your car! Over 15 million users worldwide have added to the 5.4 million reported "traps." The app also displays the speed limit and your current speed.
For readers living in Victoria, you can download the official traffic app from VicRoads that provides live news of traffic conditions and accidents. There is a lot of text on this app which isn’t the best idea when you are driving, however it also has a simpler map interface which provides a general overview of the traffic conditions. You can also access live camera footage and be given predicted travel times to reach your destination.
This free app shows you the speed, altitude and direction in which you are travelling, whether you are going in a car, bike, train, plane or boat. The coolest feature is the BMW-style head-up display that will project your speed on to your windshield.
Car Accident Report (CAR)
As its name suggests, this free app is designed to help you accurately collect and record driver, witness and vehicle information in the case of a car accident. It has a built-in camera, audio and drawing tools to help you capture every aspect of the accident. It also has GPS tracking to locate the exact position of the accident. You can then email all of the collected information to necessary parties.
However, in the case where technology fails us, Budget Direct suggests downloading their trusty "Glove Box Claims Guide." Print it out and keep it in your car for use, should the need ever arise.