Navigation Apps - More Than Just Directions
Navigation and GPS apps have been around for quite awhile. Some people only use them when they’re lost or need to find the way to a destination, but what about situations where we already know the route by heart? What benefits do these apps have for us as we commute to and from college or work everyday using the same roads?
Well, as it turns out, PLENTY! Here are some examples:
Sudden changes in traffic conditions.
Driving in Malaysia means that we face a lot of unpredictable risks. Aside from the dangerous drivers that I’ve written about in one of my previous articles, we also face the risk of rapidly changing weather, flash floods, and sudden jams even on roads that are usually clear.
The beauty of having our navigation app active even on a regular drive to and from our destination is that in the event of sudden changes caused by any of the risks mentioned above, the app is able to advise us to take alternate routes, or at the very least is able to bring our attention to dangers that might lay ahead.
By being aware of these sudden changes, we’ll be able to make better decisions not only in terms of being safer drivers, but also for our time management. When traffic conditions change, why not stop over at a nearby mall for a meal and maybe a dinner to wait it out?
That’s much more relaxing than getting stuck in an unexpected jam for a few hours, don’t you think?
Knowing what’s ahead
Navigation apps collect data from multiple sources, with GPS data providers and traffic monitoring systems being two examples. Additionally, some types of data is crowd sourced, coming from other drivers who report things that they experience on the road.
Police roadblocks, a stopped car in the middle of the road, even potholes can be tagged on your route by other drivers and appear as a notification on your phone. This keeps your driving experience safe by waking you up from the ‘autopilot mode’ we all fall into when we drive on a road we’ve traveled on endlessly.
Discover secret shortcuts
Think about the roads you use all the time. Chances are that you use those roads because they’re familiar to you. Perhaps you discovered them yourself once upon a time, or perhaps you learned it from your friends or your parents when they drove you around. We often take routes we’re familiar with without realising that they may be alternate routes available.
With navigation apps, once you’ve keyed in your destination you are usually presented with multiple options on how to get to where you need to be. If traffic conditions are bad, the app would probably start guiding you through shortcuts that most people don’t even know about.
For some people, this could be a matter of safety. When some drivers want to be extra cautious, it’s actually a good idea for them to change the routes they drive on every now and then. But for the rest of us, this could be a great way of gaining a new appreciation for our own towns or cities just by seeing parts of it we never knew existed!
Letting others see your movements
Some navigation apps even allow us the option of sending our Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) to our friends and contacts, letting them view our movements on their app as well. This is really handy if you’re driving to meet someone and want to avoid having them constantly text or call you asking “Have you left? How far are you?”.
It’s definitely risky being distracted by these texts and calls constantly making your phone vibrate, but more important than that is simply how annoying they can be.
This could also bring peace of mind to parents or partners who want to make sure that you arrive home safely after your drive!
Navigation apps these days aren’t just about showing you the route and the dangers between you and your destination. Many now also include details about businesses on the way.
This could be useful for making pit stops, either to buy supplies or perhaps to top up on your petrol and fill the air up in your tires. Instead of taking a massive detour to the shops and petrol stations you remember in your mind, using the app to find ones along your route will save you a lot of time and stress.
So no matter how much of an expert you are at driving, or how deeply you’ve memorised the roads that you drive on every day, navigation apps still have a lot of value to offer. These apps are free of charge, can help you drive safely and save a massive amount of time.
The next time you use your favourite navigation app, take some time to explore all of its features. You’ll be surprised at what it can do for you!