Malaysian traffic is back. Gone are the days when a commute to the office took no longer than 20 minutes. As our roads become more congested, it’s impossible to avoid the frustration that comes with mind-numbing road crawls. Instead of cursing the next driver to cut into your lane, why not use the time productively with one or more of these apps? All you need is a phone holder and an active mobile data plan.
From picking up a new language, to losing yourself in engaging discussions, here are some road-safe apps that will keep you looking forward to your next traffic jam.
Listen to an audiobook with Scribd
While catching up on your favourite series on Netflix and driving could kill you, listening to an audiobook can be just as entertaining without the need to risk your life. At just USD 8.99 (RM39.79) a month, you’ll be able to access a vast library of reading material, most notably their audiobook collection.
Scribd can also play audiobooks while you run Maps or Waze, so you can stay engaged throughout your hour-long (or more) journey home.
Keep up with current topics with Spotify
Spotify may be famous for music but did you know that it also houses podcasts? If you’re not familiar with podcasts, it’s basically radio talk shows that are pre recorded, uploaded and ready to be streamed. This makes it easier for you to follow topics that interest you. Spotify’s library of podcasts cover a wide range of genres from horror to comedy to everyday Malaysian kopitiam talk.
Catch up with a loved one with WhatsApp
Texting or making calls on the road are bad ideas unless you’ve got a proper hands-free setup in place. With voice assistants like Siri and Google, you easily make commands like “call mum on WhatsApp” without lifting a finger from the steering wheel. Not only will your time be better spent, you’ll also improve your mental health and personal relations.
Journal your thoughts with Google Keep
With speech-to-text now widely available on most devices, you can take notes without having to touch your phone. This is a great way to reflect on your day or even plan for the next one. Simply tap on the microphone icon on the device and talk away.
Stay mindful with Calm
Calm may be well-known for its meditation courses but somewhere among the list of courses you’ll find a 3-minute meditation for the road. While it is not recommended for you to zone-out on the road, you can perform this short meditation exercise before starting your journey to reduce that comes with bumper-to-bumper traffic. This is especially recommended as you leave a stressful location like your workplace.
Learn a new language with MosaLingua
As published in Harian Metro, UITM lecturer Izmaniza Ismail mentioned that Malaysians in Klang Valley spend an average of 44 hours a month in traffic. That is a lot of time being annoyed and listening to Billie Eilish on repeat. Instead of memorising lyrics, use the time to pick up a new language. MosaLingua is an app that has specialised learning tracks for long commutes so you can pick up French, Spanish, Chinese or more.
Have a conversation with your Google Assistant
It’s never a dull moment when you’re driving around with the world’s most famous know-it-all. All you have to do is call out “Hey Google”. Even while you have Google Maps running, your Google Assistant will be ready to react to your commands, so you can ask questions of interest like “is Amber Heard going to prison?”, “what are your thoughts on Siri?” or the good ol’ “tell me a joke” - all without even having to take your hands off the wheel.
Until the day humans come up with a way to teleport, we will always have to deal with traffic. Thanks to the invention of smartphones, traffic is more bearable, and maybe even beneficial. With these apps you never have to worry about wasting time or getting so frustrated to the point where you pull out the car number plate of someone who cut into your lane.
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