You never know where bad traffic will screw up your commute…unless you get an app that keeps you informed, of course. There are plenty of apps to guide you, but they range in cost — from $1 to $35 (hello there Tom Tom). You don’t need to pay all that, though, since some very smart, intuitive people have kindly put together traffic navigation apps that will accomplish everything you need.

Waze

Waze doesn’t have some satellite in the sky informing you of traffic issues; it’s a crowdsourced app that has 30 million (and growing) drivers inputting traffic data into the app for you. Once you log in the program it takes you to a map where you can see trouble spots, police, weather issues, and more.

You could just take the app and use it for what it’s intended for as a map to avoid road drama, but you can also get active with the social media aspect of it by leaving pictures or voice messages with your updates.

You can even earn points. The point system works through a variety of ways — from just running the app itself — to reporting traffic incidents to anything else. The more active you are, the more points you can pick up. And earning points raises your rank.

Waze is available for iPhone and Android via the App Store and Google Play.

Beat the Traffic

Not only does Beat the Traffic have users like you inputting issues with traffic, police, hazards, construction and more, but it also claims to use other resources. Traffic cameras, live speed data, and incident reports are purported to be feeding information into the app to help you better navigate your commute.

You have a list of places you go to often, right? You can set up specific routes within the app. If you go there often, you already know where it is, true. But you don’t know where all the problem spots are. Maybe construction began and is obstructing you from your regular destination. Beat the Traffic will inform you of any problematic areas right in the app so you can make adjustments.

Though it’s a pretty sweet app (when it works), you will find it can be buggy and it could randomly close on you in the middle of use. It’s still a free app, though, so you may find it useful to pick it up and start messing with it. By the time you get really proficient at it, they could have all the issues resolved.

Beat the Traffic is available for iPhone and Android via the App Store and Google Play.

Twist

Twist is a unique traffic app that will inform you how long you have until you get to a destination and it will inform the person you are heading toward.

First, you set the your destination. Then you tell the app who’s going to see you at this destination. If you’re headed to a party and you’ve got your SO and some close friends looking for you to show up, set them up as recipients. They will receive a text letting them know your ETA. However, if you have to stop or get delayed, it will send them a revised ETA text so they always know how far away you are.

If the people you’re going to see have Twist as well, they can see your exact location. However, that information is restricted to people you’ve notified via the app, so it won’t be loaded onto Foursquare or Facebook for everyone to see.

Twist is available for iPhone and Android via the App Store and Google Play.

Related: 3 Apps To Help You Form Good Habits

Image (edited): Mink

free traffic apps