We deck out our homes and offices with tons of awesome gadgets that make life easier and more convenient, but there’s another place we spend tons of time that often is overlooked — our cars. But, there are plenty of useful technological items that can make the time you spend on the road a little more bearable and fun, if you know what they are and where to look for them.
We’ve got a list of five great items below that will enhance your automotive awesome factor. From in-car chargers to tracking systems that can let you know what’s going on with your car even when you’re not around, you’re going to want to grab these gadgets.
Road trips that are more fun
Our first two gadgets are for inside the car, especially when you’re planning on taking a trip that puts you there for more than an hour or two. For long trips, distractions can be essential, and a cup holder power inverter is a great item to have with you. It fits into a standard cup holder, plugs into your cigarette lighter, and includes two standard wall outlet connections to plug in less car-friendly devices. You can find cup holder inverters in lots of places, but a handy pair are at Brookstone (5 percent Cash Back) and The Sharper Image (8 percent Cash Back), for between $40 and $50 each.
You might also shop those stores for clip-on holders for mobile tablets.The Sharper Image carries a holder that can be fastened to the back of the front seat, turning your tablet into a video player for kids, for around $60. Another turns your (other) cup holder into a mount, keeping your tablet handy for things like navigation, for $50. Just be sure to keep your eyes on the road.
For safety (and to keep warm)
Gadgets that can keep your driving experiences a little safer are also very much worth the investment. One of the coolest I’ve ever heard of, a closed-hood car jump starter. They’re available at ThinkGeek for $28 (and 3.5 percent Cash Back), and they don’t require popping the hood or going out in the snow when your car won’t start — and that, really, is priceless.
For actually driving and keeping safe, snag a BlueAnt S4 True Handsfree speaker. It syncs with your phone via Bluetooth and gives you full control of phone functions using only your voice. Find it at Amazon for about $70.
Finally, it’s a little less flashy, but consider adding a CG Lock to your seat belts.The locking mechanism keeps more tension in the belt than the standard buckle, which can keep you sitting up straight, which can improve your driving. It’s also great for kids, especially when you’ve got them in car seats. Find it at SoloRacer.com for about $50 – and get 8 percent off with a coupon.