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Dublin: 16 °C Friday 20 September, 2019

8 driving hacks that will change the way you get around

The apps and shortcuts set to cut down your commute.

shutterstock_365382080 Source: Shutterstock/Looker_Studio

SPEND A LOT OF time on the road, but little or no time streamlining your journeys? There are so many easy and achievable changes you can make to your commuting that will cut down on your time spent in front of the wheel and make your time spent there far more enjoyable.

We’ve gathered the best driving hacks around to ensure you’re spending your time on the road in the most efficient way possible.

1. Drop a pin when you park

We’ve all been there, so relieved you’ve actually obtained a parking space that you’re too distracted to actually memorise where you parked, which only becomes approximately five times more difficult when you return later in the dark, and everything suddenly looks different.

Especially if you’re in an unfamiliar city (though this also works in well-visited neighbourhoods you feel you should know better than you do), get into the habit of immediately dropping a pin on your map so that when you approach later, Google Maps can tell you exactly where your car is.

2. Feeling frosty out? Park your car facing east

shutterstock_593773490 Source: Shutterstock/Kichigin

Memories of icy mornings where your car wouldn’t start and your de-icer was nowhere to be found may have been conveniently forgotten about for now, but when the temperatures descend again, try parking your car pointing east.

As the sun rises in the east, you will be using its heat to melt away some of the ice that settled on your car overnight, meaning you can keep your credit cards in your pocket and still be on time for work on cold winter mornings.

3. Ask around to avoid traffic jams

Sometimes no matter how early you are out the door (and how smug you inevitably feel), you will somehow end up on the wrong end of a traffic jam on the way to work, raising stress levels and ruining what was a good mood before you even really begin your day. You may not be taking the most efficient route, so it’s worth asking other people who are coming and going from the same places if they have any tips.

For instance, a member of our news desk shared:

Coming into town from the Navan Road, turning left at Hanlon’s Corner and right down Grangegorman helps you avoid Manor Street if it’s busy.

4. Arm yourself with the right apps

image Source: eFlow

Google Maps’ incredibly handy voiced directions have already revolutionised the way we drive from A to B, removing the need for expensive GPS navigators. However, there are a wealth of highly useful apps you may not realise are available, including this one that gives you the ability to pay for your parking in Dublin, Wicklow and Laois.

Similarly, you can drive more freely around Europe with apps that list driving rules in each country to ensure you’re up to speed while on travelling (pardon the pun). You can also easily manoeuvre the Irish motorways with one-touch payment on this app.

5. Use your head to unlock your car (no, really)

Some sceptics were sure this was a myth, but the story goes that if you hold your remote car door opener under your chin from across a parking lot or street, that it increases its reach dramatically.

Settling it once and for all, The New York Times asked radio engineer Tim Pozar if it was legitimate. He explained: “You are capacitively coupling the fob to your head. With all the fluids in your head it ends up being a nice conductor. Not a great one, but it works.”

6. Don’t weigh down your keychain

shutterstock_108289865 Source: Shutterstock/Kekyalyaynen

This one is more of a warning than a hack, but having a number of keys jangling along with your car keys and fob can damage the ignition switch, meaning your car will not start as easily as it should.

Noticing a tightness or your key locking while it’s in the ignition? Take it to the dealer as soon as you can, as it can end up costing a lot if it ends up damaging the ignition itself. It’s actually suggested that the best practice is not to add any additional keys to your car keys to prevent this.

7. Switch off the radio and get learning

Ever find yourself constantly switching station for something better to listen to while you’re driving? Invest in an auxiliary cable that connects to your phone and spend your time on the road listening to something educational instead.

Try downloading information-laden podcasts (at the moment we’re loving 99% Invisible, Stuff You Should Know and Revisionist History). Alternatively pick up an easy learning language CD and polish up on, or learn a language you’ve always wanted to master. You’ll never have to waste time scanning the airwaves again.

8. Use everyday items to hack your car for convenience

shutterstock_532798912 Source: Shutterstock/Sergey Smolentsev

One of the easiest ways to improve your experience behind the wheel is to use hacks to make things more comfortable when you’re inside your car, and they don’t have to cost anything.

If you’ve no phone holder, loop a rubber band or hair tie through one of the vents on your air conditioner to hold your phone up where you can see it if you need it to follow directions. Similarly, cereal dispensers can easily be transformed into a car-friendly bin.

Want another hack to make your driving easier? eFlow, Ireland’s leading tolling solutions provider now offers an M50 QuickPay App (available on both Google Play and the App Store). The deadline to pay for the M50 toll is before 8pm the day after you travel through but you can also prepay before you travel. Just open the app and enter your vehicle registration number, select how many tolls you want to pay for and pop in your payment details (using the card scan option if you wish).

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