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Hit the Road with Top Driving Tech

With summer basically over, many people will soon be jumping in their cars in a bid to enjoy those last rays of sunshine.

But while some will still be relying on mammoth maps and games of ‘I Spy’ to get through the journey, there’s plenty of tech around to make your life easier on the road.

Below I’ve picked out a few gadgets, websites and apps to help you get to your destination quickly, safely and without hearing the dreaded ‘Are we there yet?’ coming from the backseat.

TomTom Start 20 GPS

Once a luxury, most now consider a good satellite navigation system essential when behind the wheel. It means you’ll never get lost or have to ask for directions again – and can be very useful if you need to vary a well-known route due to roadworks or traffic.

TomTom is the market leader and this affordable system has a clear widescreen display, the latest maps and an ‘IQ’ feature that remembers your favourite routes and tries to improve on them.

Nintendo 3DS

Want a way to keep the kids entertained in the back of the car with something that doesn’t involve fighting each other? Then the follow-up to the UK’s best-selling console is a great place to start. The handheld Nintendo 3DS adds a third dimension to its portable predecessor and, with tons of educational and brain-training games available, it’s good for their minds as well as your concentration. Just make sure you have one 3DS per child – otherwise those arguments are bound to start up again!

THINK!

This official government website is well worth checking out before any long journey. Full of useful tips and advice, it describes everything from how to fit a child’s car seat to when you should be taking breaks to avoid fatigue. It also clearly sets out the laws on speed limits, drink driving and use of mobile phones – so that you don’t break them.

Drive Safe.ly

As the THINK! website sets out in detail, using a mobile when driving is both illegal and dangerous – making you four times more likely to crash. This app – available for Apple, Android, BlackBerry and Windows handsets – will instantly read out any text or email that arrives, without you needing to touch the phone, and can even send a pre-set automatic response. The cost of the app depends on whether it’s for personal or business use and any extra features you require.

Find Your Car with AR

Ever had that sinking feeling when you just can’t remember where you parked your car? Well that’s no longer a worry for those who download this free app for their iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4. Using a mixture of the handset’s camera, compass and 3G signal, the app’s augmented reality technology will lead you to where you left your vehicle. Simply tap the app when you park, to save your position, and then open it later and follow the directional arrow to find the car. Now, where did you put those keys?

Green Flag Rescue Me

This is probably the only app you’ll have on your iPhone or iPad that you NEVER want to use. If you break down just click a button and GPS will pinpoint your location and put you through to Green Flag, who can come and help you, whether you’re a member or not. It also provides traffic updates, driving tips and helpful reminders that will go off when your MOT or road tax is due.


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