Connected Cars Make the Busiest Travel Weekend of the Year Safer, Faster, Saner

Connected Cars Travel Weekends Safer

Planning to drive somewhere over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend? There may be nearly 4 million more people on the road than there were last year. AAA forecasts that the number of Americans traveling by car for the holiday will be up 8% from 2020 — and only 3% below the number of holiday travelers during the pre-pandemic Thanksgiving of 2019.

During what can be a long drive on crowded highways, drivers and passengers may appreciate features on today’s increasingly connected cars that can make the busiest travel weekend of the year safer, faster and more fun.

Experienced commuters have learned this for themselves. PYMNTS’ research found that consumers who commute for work own more connected devices — and tend to use more of them per day — than those who work from home. What’s more, those who have grown accustomed to using connected devices in their homes and offices want the same services while in a vehicle.

Read more: Device-Happy Commuting Mobile Consumers Crave Connections

So, put on your seat belt and check out five connected services that have been announced in recent months by automakers.

Remembering Your Favorite Settings

Getting into a shared car? If it’s a Toyota equipped with the automaker’s new infotainment system, riders can use the Toyota App to store their preferred settings. Each time that rider enters the car, their favorite temperature, audio settings and seat position will be adjusted for them when their phone talks with the vehicle — and it does the same if they get into another Toyota equipped with the system.

Wondering about the best route and current traffic conditions? BMW recently updated its navigational system to incorporate real-time traffic information so it can more precisely plan routes and predict arrival times. It even delivers the information via an over-the-air update that keeps vehicle software current, just like a software update on a smartphone.

Are there toll roads along the way? For Audis equipped with the Integrated Toll Module, there’s no need to stop and pay at a booth — a transponder is built into the rearview mirror that’s compatible with all U.S. tolling hardware and software. Using just one account, the vehicle can complete a touchless transaction.

Restarting the Movie You Were Watching at Home

To avoid the “did the garage door actually close?” worries, Mitsubishi drivers with the right app and equipment can use their vehicle’s dashboard touchscreen to check the status of the garage door, and even open or close it from anywhere along their journey.

Thanksgiving travel can be long and crowded, but passengers in Jeep Wagoneers and Grand Wagoneers can enjoy integrated Amazon Fire TV for Auto, staying entertained the length of their journey. This syncs the content of an Amazon account with the vehicle, just as it would with other devices. If the passengers have already started watching a movie at home, they can continue watching from where they left off on the SUV’s entertainment screens.

As nearly 48.3 million people venture onto the roads this Thanksgiving weekend, remember to utilize any connected services that vehicles offer — they’re always useful, but they may also help get the holidays off to the right start.