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Technology has infiltrated every part of our lives, whether we’re stationary or not. But, there’s a key difference between the tech we rely on in those two states. When we’re standing still, we look to tech to distract us, but on the move, we need things to help us stay focused.
That’s why the tech in my car is there to keep me hands free, and distractions down to a minimum. I accumulated these products over time, but each of them work together to make that goal a reality. This past weekend I spent seven hours driving to and from a wedding, and the long ride only made me appreciate each item more.
No more cup holder phone! I can’t tell you how many times I had to crane my neck on a highway to sneak a peek at Google Maps, and this was back in the small-screen iPhone 4 days.
A car mount elevates all of these problems. Just set it in an easily-viewable area on your dashboard, and slip your phone inside. I recently reviewed a car mount from Vantrue that I like. It’s light, strong, and can hold phones from 3.5″ small up to 6″ large, so whether you’re rocking a pocketable phone or phablet, you’re covered.
If I could only keep one piece of car tech, it would be this one — it keeps me safe and makes Google Maps easy to keep track of.
We use our phones for everything, even in the car. At any given time I’ve got Google Maps giving me directions, music playing, and the screen brightness ratcheted up to 100%. It’s that last choice that drains my battery, but when it comes to something as important as getting me somewhere on time, I don’t want to take any chances.
For a while I had to play a game of “will 53% battery get me to Boston?” The answer is no. No it will not. So I purchased one of these cigarette lighter chargers and haven’t looked back. This one from Anker has two USB ports so whoever’s riding shotgun can charge their phone too. You’ll need to supply your own cables, whether you use an iPhone or Android device, but it’s good to keep extras of those on hand regardless.
If your car is newer, then you might just need an Aux cable to make a connection. This is one of those cases where I greatly prefer a hardwired connection than relying on something wireless. If your phone decides to un-pair with your stereo 10 miles into a 200-mile trip, you’ll be sunk until you get a chance to pull into a rest stop.
Ok, so I haven’t bought an Automatic. Yet. This is my next car tech purchase, and it’s by far the most sophisticated. Automatic is a small fob that plugs directly into your car’s “diagnostic port,” which has been sitting in cars since the mid 1990’s. Once installed you can pair it with your phone and get all sorts of data about your car. This data can be used to diagnose a problem you car is having, or calculate your MPG (Miles Per Gallon) on a certain route to help you optimize your commute.
As a data nerd, the idea of seeing how my driving is impacting my car, and adjusting my driving if need be, sounds very exciting.