Sitting behind the wheel of your car as the traffic up ahead grinds to a halt can have many of us clench our fists to give the steering wheel a frustrated squeeze. HERE Drive, and HERE Drive+, is designed to make your drive easier, more informed and less stressful. Check out our HERE Drive walk- (or should that be drive?) through.
To make sure you’ve got the latest and correct version of HERE Drive(+), scan the relevant QR code on the right with your Windows Phone 8 smartphone. That’s right, you’ll notice it also runs on non-Nokia Lumia smartphones, too.
The new home screen
Once installed and launched, HERE Drive will load in one of two views. If you’re using the phone vertically, then a home screen will slide into view with a micro-map at the top. The map will show your current location, while the home screen provides you with big on-screen buttons where you can start to plan your car journey by searching HERE’s vast database of POIs or inputting a specific address. You can even access your favourites, if you’ve saved any from any other HERE app or here.com.
HERE Drive (free)
HERE Drive+ (paid)
In horizontal mode, the home screen doesn’t automatically slide into view, but by swiping from the bottom you can bring it upwards onto the screen.
You’ll also notice that there’s an option to switch your Internet connection on or off. That’s because HERE Drive, as well as HERE Maps, can calculate and navigate you even without Internet connection.
However, in order to benefit from advanced features, like traffic updates, an Internet connection is recommended.
Now, let’s talk you through the important features of driving with HERE Drive.
How to reach your destination
Use the home screen to find your destination and to see an overview of the proposed route.
From here you can also select precisely which type of route you want to take. For example, you may want to avoid toll roads, motorways or ferries, and you can also select to drive via the fastest, or shortest route. These settings are also accessible in the overall HERE Drive settings.
When you’re satisfied with the route, press the big drive to button to start your navigation.
If you’ve not already done so, HERE Drive will prompt you to download a voice pack so that you can be given clear voice commands to help you on your journey – choose which voice you want to assist you.
As the route appears on screen, details about your journey will appear at the bottom of your screen. Details such as how fast you may be travelling, the distance you’ve got to cover in order to get to your destination and also an estimated time of arrival.
Not everybody likes the same view of the roads, which is why you have the ability to change it.
Tapping on the compass icon will switch between 2D and 3D view, as well as a new ‘north up’ view – with north always located at the top of the screen.
If you happen to be driving in the daytime and day turns to night, HERE Drive will automatically switch from day to night mode to give you a more muted colour scheme and lower brightness. This makes it easier on your eyes and lets you concentrate on driving.
As you drive, you’ll see various points of interest (POI) along the way, such as gas stations, car repair shops, parking facilities, or even your saved favourites should they be on route.
At any point, you can pull up the menu bar from the bottom to stop navigation or to change the drive settings. Maybe you want to use imperial measurements instead of metric? Or turn on My Commute to help you with your regular car journeys.
To ensure that you drive the best route and get you to where you want/need to be on time, HERE Drive incorporates live traffic info into its route planning.
Using ‘smart data‘ HERE Drive collects data, anonymously, from other smartphone users who are driving their cars, as well as other data points to deliver you the best possible driving experience.
To see this in action, tap the traffic icon (two cars) at the bottom left on your screen. From here you can see roads turn from green, to yellow, to red, depending on the traffic loads.
For example, as you can see by this screenshot the route up to and across London Bridge shows red, which means you’ll be waiting in a line of traffic to get across the River Thames. A better route (green) is in fact down Tooley Street and over Tower Bridge.
And there’s more
Using precise and clear voice prompts, HERE Drive will always let you know if you need to turn right, left, or take the third exit at the next roundabout – if that’s what’s needed.
There’s also an added safety feature that informs you if you’re driving faster than the local speed limit.
If you regularly take to the road, pinning HERE Drive to your Windows Phone 8 Start screen is the quickest way to find a driving route. And why not pin your favourite destination to your Start screen, too? Then, you’re just one tap away from driving ‘home’ at the end of a long day.
My Commute can also be pinned to your Start screen, for those regular journeys. With this tile, you’ll always be kept informed of the latest traffic condition along your route before you even load up the app.
As you near your destination, the blue route lines that have been your companion during the journey will lead the way to a chequered flag – the universal sign for drive over.
No matter where you need to go and what method you use to get there, HERE is at hand to give you the best possible routing options.