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Download these before you hit the road.

April 18, 2017

Gone are the days of plugging in a stand-alone GPS unit — long-distance driving has become even easier with the advent of smartphone apps that not only map your itinerary and offer driving tips but also warn of speed traps and suggest pit stops.

Here are 10 apps (free unless otherwise noted) that you should download before your next four-wheeled adventure.

Automatic

You’ll need a Bluetooth- or 3G-enabled adapter to use this multi-feature app, which alerts you when you’re low on gas or if you’re about to approach a turn. You can also use it to track expenses or to split the cost of gas with a friend. Android and iOS; from $79.95.

Gas Buddy

Not only does Gas Buddy track fuel prices at gas stations in the U.S. and Canada — use it to find the cheapest options nearby — but it also calculates how much you will need based on your itinerary and the model of car you’re driving. Android and iOS.

iOnRoad

Use your phone as a dash cam. The app’s spatial-recognition feature will alert the driver if the car crosses road lines or if you get too close to other cars. It also works similarly to an airplane’s black box in case you need to capture any accidents. Android and iOS; $0.99.

RoadTrippers

RoadTrippers uses your GPS location to find nearby detour-worthy pit stops, whether that means great restaurants, photo ops, cultural points of interest, or quirky roadside attractions (World’s Largest Yarn Ball, anyone?). Android and iOS.

AutoMate

By using the voice- activated feature, AutoMate makes it easy for drivers to ask for directions, check weather updates, text or call friends and family, and operate music apps without lifting a finger from the steering wheel. Android.

Openbay

Fingers crossed you don’t experience any kind of engine or mechanical hiccups on your trip, but if it does happen, Openbay will help you compare repair prices based on your location — perfect for when you have no real idea of where you are. Android and iOS.

iCarMode

This app lets you pull up and control your music and GPS apps from one screen. It will also track where you parked your car, help you find nearby ATMs and coffee shops, and send updates to let you know how much time is left on the parking meter. iOS.

TomTom Go Mobile

See your driving route in multicolor 3-D. You can also use it to avoid getting a speeding ticket: its user community shares locations of law-enforcement cameras and speed traps. Fees apply beyond 50 miles of use. Android and iOS.

Waze

This traffic-tracking navigation app from Google is a must for gridlocked urban areas, and its real-time updates can save you time. Users are encouraged to share information, like police sightings, debris on the road, or accidents ahead. Android and iOS.

HighwayHero

Better than a “How’s My Driving?” bumper sticker, HighwayHero tracks your driving habits (how smooth your turns, starts, and stops are, if you accelerated too hard, and if you’re checking your phone too much). It will also give you tips to improve your road skills. Android and iOS. 

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