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The average American spends 51 minutes driving each day according to a survey conducted by AAA, and if you have a lengthy commute, or live in an area with a lot of traffic, you’re probably spending even more time behind the wheel.
It may seem smart to keep your car as tech free as possible to cut down on potential distractions, but keeping a few key accessories inside actually makes a lot of sense. Our recommendations are designed to help you focus on the road while you’re driving, and help you solve common-but-unexpected problems as quickly as possible.
Some are designed to work with your phone, the gadget you’re most likely to have on you at all times, without enticing you to interact with it, while others add modern features to an older car. All the accessories we’re recommending will work with almost every car, regardless of its year, make, or model, so it won’t matter what you drive.
Whether you’re driving an hour a week, or two hours a day, the tech accessories we’ve found all deserve a place in your car.
1. Roav C2 Pro Dash Cam
Nobody wants to think about carjackings or accidents, but unfortunately these things do happen. A dash cam can give you a concrete record of what actually happened, which is a lot more substantial than two people arguing over a particular event.
Roav’s C2 Pro is a suction cup dash cam that records video in 1080P (Full HD). It’s equipped with a wide-angle lens that can capture what’s going on in four lanes of traffic, and uses a technology called NightHawk to improve its low light performance.
The footage captured by Roav’s dash cam includes GPS data and your driving speed, so you’ll have even more information to turn over to the police in case something happens. The camera is powered via MicroUSB (cable included), and has a battery, so it can keep recording even when your car is off.
The C2 Pro saves its video onto a MicroSD Card, but you can transfer clips to your phone wirelessly via Roav’s App. This works over WiFi, so make sure you have that setting enabled before initiating a transfer.
2. Anker PowerDrive Speed+ Duo
Anker’s PowerDrive Speed+ Duo is an ultra powerful car charger for any gadget you have with you.
It has a USB-C PD (Power Delivery) port, which can deliver up to 30W (Watts) of power, and a USB-A port, which has a maximum power output of 18W. The USB-C port on this adapter is powerful enough to fast charge a phone, or charge a 13-Inch MacBook Air at full speed. The USB-A port can be used for auxiliary devices, like our dash cam recommendation.
3. AUKEY Wireless Audio Adapter
The audio system built into many older cars don’t support Bluetooth, but you don’t need to replace the center console to get this feature. AUKEY’s Wireless Audio Adapter allows you to stream audio from your phone to your car’s stereo wirelessly, here’s how it works.
First, pair your phone to the wireless adapter over Bluetooth. Next, attach a 3.5mm audio cable from the adapter to the AUX input on your car’s stereo system; if it doesn’t have an AUX input, you can also use a 3.5mm to cassette adapter. Once everything is connected, play music from your phone like you normally would.
It’s not a seamless as connecting your phone directly to your car’s stereo system, but AUKEY’s Wireless Audio Adapter offers the same functionality at a far lower price.
4. Bouncie Connected Driving Adapter
Almost every car made after the mid 1990s has an OBD (On-Board Diagnostic) port underneath the hood. This has traditionally been used by mechanics to identify problems with your car, but Bouncie’s Connected Driving Adapter lets you do a lot more
Once connected, the adapter can keep track of your driving in real-time, including where you’re headed, and the length of your trip. This information is stored in the Bouncie App (iOS and Android), where you can view it later. This data can be helpful if you want to remember when you took a particular trip, but it’s even more useful if your car gets stolen. You’ll immediately know that your car has been moved, and know exactly where it is.
The primary use of your car’s OBD port is to provide information about your car’s health, and Bouncie can help with that, too. If your car is throwing up an error message, the Bouncie app will explain what the problem is in easy to understand language, so you’ll know what to check first. Finally, Bouncie’s subscription ($8 per month; required) includes free roadside assistance, including towing, refueling, and battery jumping at no cost.
5. TACKLIFE T8 18000mAh Car Jump Starter
A dead battery is one of the most common issues you’ll face as a driver, and it can be time consuming (and expensive) to call a tow service for a jump. TACKLIFE’s Car Jump Starter has a 18,000mAh (milliamp) battery and two jumper cables, so you can take care of the problem yourself.
TACKLIFE says this battery can jump a car, SUV, truck, or van up to 30 times if it’s fully charged, which takes four and a half hours. The company says the battery can hold a charge for up to 12 months when it’s not in use. The battery has a set of LEDs on top, which you can use as a visual aid to help alert drivers that you’re stuck on the side of the road, and two USB ports to keep your devices powered up while you call for help.
6. iOttie Easy One Touch 4 Car Mount
Most of us rely on a GPS app to get to from place to place, but it’s crucial to keep your eyes off your phone and on the road while you’re driving. IOttie’s Easy One Touch 4 Car Mount allows you to keep your phone at eye level, so you can glance over at it only when necessary.
The mount can be attached anywhere on your dashboard via a suction cup, which will hold it in place even on bumpy terrain. Its arm can be adjusted higher or lower to get it to the right position, and the phone holder can be swiveled up or down, so you get the right angle.
This is the car mount I’ve used for over a year, and it’s worked flawlessly during tens of hours of drives. The mount’s arms have kept my phone (an iPhone 11 Pro Max) secure regardless of which case I’m testing, and iOttie says it can accommodate phones up to 3.5-inches wide. If you’ve currently leave your phone in your car’s cup holder, I can’t recommend this car mount highly enough.