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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Apps to "Help" Prevent Truck and Car Accidents!

androidgals.com

Great info thanks to Kim Komando of komando.com, the link to her site follows. I haven't used any of these apps yet, but I want to check them out. If any of you have experience with them, your comments would be welcome!

6/16/2012
There are few things that upset me as much as distracted driving. The road is dangerous enough even when you are paying attention.
The biggest culprit behind distracted driving is phone use. Even if you have a hands-free device, anything that takes your focus away from the road is potentially life-threatening.
But there are also some very cutting-edge apps that try to improve your awareness of the road, rather than inhibit it. They use advanced augmented reality, or AR technology, to do it.
iOnRoad (Free; Android) - iOnRoad is an award-winning app with many great features. Like all AR apps, it projects information onto a real-time display of the world.
You'll see graphical indicators that draw your attention to lane boundaries, approaching cars and distance to objects. There's also a heads-up display (HUD) telling you your speed.
iOnRoad will alert you when you're too close to other cars, speeding or when you drift out of your lane. It will read text messages and notifications out loud, and keep a driving log complete with snapshots of risky events on the road.
It even takes a picture of your parking spot so you can find your way back. The free version of iOnRoad Lite is supported by ads, but you can upgrade to ad-free for $5. An iOS version is on the way.
Augmented Driving ($3; iOS) - This app has many of the same features as iOnRoad, but it's exclusive for the iPhone. Your lane will be highlighted, as will other cars on the road.
The HUD shows a compass, a speedometer and the distance to objects. There are audio indicators for excessive speed, moving too close to other cars and lane departure.
You can even be notified in stop-and-go traffic when the car ahead of you has started moving. And Augmented Driving will keep a video logbook of your trip if you choose.
Drivea (Free; Android) - Drivea is a much simpler version of the first two apps. It includes only the AR highlights and a smaller HUD with only speed, direction and elevation listed.
There are also audio indicators of excessive speed, imminent collision and lane change. Drivea presents a more straightforward experience, and is designed to run alongside navigation apps.
In order to use all three of these apps, you'll need to purchase a windshield mount for your phone that doesn't obstruct the camera. Since each one uses continuous GPS location, they will drain the battery quickly, so I recommend using a car charger also.
Additionally, because these apps all use audio notifications, you can plug them into your car's speakers for better hearing.
Finally, a caveat: These apps were designed to help you be aware of the road, but they can become a distraction if you fiddle with them or focus too much on them. Think of them as another element of your dash. You can't drive while staring at your odometer, and you can't drive while staring at your phone.
Be aware that low light will affect these apps' ability to recognize your surroundings. And in urban areas, you're better off turning off the app and focusing on your driving.
Each of these three apps includes a warning not to substitute their functions for safe, attentive driving habits. In other words, keep your eyes on the road!


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