It doesn’t seem like it at the minute – with the roads deserted! – but the UK’s highways have become busier. At the back end of 2019, it was reported that 38.9 million vehicles populated Britain’s roads (with 32 million of those being cars).
With the UK currently in lockdown, we are inevitably seeing much less traffic, despite more delivery drivers being hired, and key workers still travelling to places of work. When the current situation does change though, many of use are going to relish being back in the driving seat.
Here, Skoda service operators Vindis investigate which apps are worth having on our smartphones:
Have you gone electric yet? While only 4,054 out of 149,279 cars purchased in the UK in January 2020 were battery electric vehicles, this figure is more than double the amount purchased in January 2019. While the UK continues to work on cutting its emissions and ceasing production of petrol and diesel vehicles in the not-so-distant future, the sales of electric vehicles will continue to rise.
For those already owning an electric vehicle, it may be tough finding a charging point. While the amount of charging points is constantly increasing, it’s always important to know where you can ‘refuel’. PlugShare is a free app which can pinpoint charging points near you to ensure that you’re never caught short.
In the peak seasons, away from lockdowns, the roads are immensely busy. So much so, you can go to the shops, the seaside, or local attractions and struggle to find a parking space. After driving around aimlessly, you finally find one! Success — or so you think. Once you’ve left your vehicle and gone about your business, there’s a great chance you’ll have forgotten where you parked. It has happened to the best of us. In fact, a study by Nissan found that two thirds of the British public have forgotten where they parked their vehicle. On average, this search for your missing vehicle takes 10 minutes before you spot it. However, for five per cent of people this can take over half an hour!
Step forward Car Locator. This app can be your saviour. With Car Locator you can either manually enter your location or set your phone up so that it automatically marks it using the car’s Bluetooth. Therefore, simply activate your GPS as you return to your vehicle and eradicate your search time.
This app is best used for those who are sprawling outdoor car parks or are in an unfamiliar location. Because of its use of GPS, it’s not effective in underground or multi-storey car parks.
Asphalt 9: Legends
Of course, for those on lockdown, the option to get behind the wheel and go for a drive may not be possible. Stay safe during this troublesome period and get your automotive fix by downloading this app. For your driving experience during lockdown, this game will allow you to immerse yourself in racing action thanks to developers, Gameloft.
Take advantage of your time at home and dive into this arcade-style racing action from your phone. You can compete in a 60-season career mode with over 800 separate races, while also taking part in an online multiplayer competition which pits you against up to seven other active app users.
Android Auto or Apple CarPlay
These smart driving companions offer similar functions. Choosing the right one will depend on which phone you have. Android Auto is for those with an Android operating system on their phone. Essentially, this app means that while you’re behind the wheel, you can say ‘OK Google’ and be able to undergo the following tasks:
- Set up real-time GPS navigation and be informed about traffic alerts.
- Check your calendar for any occasions that you have scheduled.
- Set reminders.
- Get up-to-date news.
- Set a do not disturb message on your phone.
- Make or answer phone calls handsfree.
- Access so many of your media apps, such as those containing your favourite music playlists, audiobooks and podcasts.
For those with an iOS smartphone, Apple CarPlay would be your go-to app. Featuring Siri voice control, you are able to:
- Search for attractions while driving by simply asking for directions through the following means: “Siri, where’s the closest petrol station?”.
- Have the app predict where you need to be by analysing addresses on your recent emails, text messages, contacts, and calendars.
- Make calls and listen to voicemail handsfree.
- Have Siri read and reply to text messages, as well as send messages in new conversations too.
- Gain access to content via your iTunes, Apple Music or other audio apps accounts, as well as even requesting for Siri to become your personal DJ for the duration of a road trip.
These apps allow you to stay connected while your focus remains on the road ahead.
So, while our roads may be looking bare at the moment, it won’t be this way forever! Of course, these are just four apps to choose from, and with 20 billion apps in general anticipated to be downloaded this year, there are many more for you to choose from if you wish!