Drive ($1.99) by Create Digital Media is an app that aims to make it safer to use your phone while you drive. Even though it’s best to not use your phone at all while on the road, sometimes you just have to. So the experience can be made a bit simpler on you, right?
Just think about it. You’re driving, but you’re on the way to a new venue to meet your friends. Perhaps you need to give them a call to let them know that you are trying to find parking in a crowded downtown area, or maybe you need to see exactly where you are at the time. You could always use the default applications to do these tasks, but at the same time, you’re putting yourself at risk, since the default methods involve quite a bit of tapping. But if you have an iPhone mount in your car, then Drive is the perfect application to make your life easier.
Drive is basically a quick-access dashboard that gives you the basic information you need at-a-glance. Everything is displayed in large, easy-to-read text and color-coded squares. You get the current time, a range of your current location, and four tiles underneath for Quick Call, Quick Text, Music, and Map. Each tile is assigned a different color so that it is easier to recognize each. One funny little tidbit about the colors of the tiles — together, they form the Windows logo, except flipped horizontally. No wonder those colors looked familiar.
Along the top of the dashboard will be a menubar for toggling Night Mode on or off, as well as access to the settings. I’d recommend giving the settings a look first so you can set up two important areas of the app.
In the settings, you are able to edit your own list of Quick Call Contacts and Quick Texts. For Call Contacts, you can choose from your entire address book and add as many numbers that you will need quick access to. Quick Texts allows you to select recipients and set up a message template, so make sure you set it up to be something that you may need to send while you are behind the wheel. Other options include displaying album cover art, night mode toggle, and 24-hour clock display.
During the day, Night Mode should be off so it’s easier to see the display. At night, just a tap of the button will turn it on so that you don’t blind yourself in the dark.
To call someone or send a message, just tap on the tile you need. Rather than show four mini tiles, you will get one larger tile for the task you need. If you set up multiple contacts or messages, simply swipe left and right to navigate through your list. Tapping on the Map tile will bring up a larger map view that displays your current location. For Music, you can play or pause with a single tap, swipe left or right to change the track, and swipe up or down with two fingers to adjust volume.
Overall, I think the app is definitely handy for getting quick access to common tasks that you may need to do while driving. However, I wish that the maps part of Drive did more. At the moment, it seems that it will only display your current position — it would be great if it could provide some way to get some directions in case you get lost, though I suppose Apple’s own Maps can do the job.
Another thing I would like to see is the ability to customize the color for each tile. I personally find the current colors to be fine, but I know that there may be some people out there who would prefer to have their own color scheme and even an order for the tiles to make things easier for themselves. Not completely necessary, but the option would be nice.
Regardless, Drive is a beautiful and minimal app that makes it easy to do what you need to do while behind the wheel. It’s a simple concept that is worth the money if you often find it a hassle to make a call or text someone that you are on the way. The music player is also a great touch, though you will have to make sure that your Music.app is already on what you want to hear, since you can’t change it.
And please, use this app responsibly.