My growling stomach and I were traveling from Washington to Ohio when a sign announced a gold mine of fast-food restaurants. McDonald’s, Subway, Wendy’s! Taco Bell, Popeyes, Chick-fil-A! All at the same exit! Obeying my stomach, I switched into the exit lane immediately.
The sign should have noted that this Promised Land of restaurants was 2.5 miles off the highway. What I hoped would be a quick detour ended up taking a full 30 minutes.
This is the frustration iExit hopes to help you avoid. Plus, it wants to help you plan a stop ahead of time, instead of in the brief period after you’ve zoomed by a sign full of hotel or fast-food logos for an exit that’s rapidly approaching.
The app offers a directory of services and businesses within 1.5 miles of the next 100 exits you will pass. This eliminates much of the guesswork that goes into road trips. Should you stop here, or will there be better food coming up? How far is the nearest gas station? Will there be a hotel in about half an hour? Now you know.
In addition to hotels, restaurants and gas stations, iExit will locate rest stops, campgrounds, RV parks, hospitals and diesel fuel. If you tap on the icon for each service or business, it opens with more details.
Another great thing about the app is that you can tell it what your favorite stops are. If you’re always looking for a Starbucks, it will point you to every Starbucks on your path, a feature I have taken full advantage of.
One problem with iExit — which, though its name might indicate otherwise, is available on Android — is that its knowledge seems somewhat out of date. It recently told me there was a Caribou Coffee close by, but the shop had closed nearly two years earlier.
The app also poses a more serious concern: Driving while looking at your phone is extremely dangerous. If you don’t have a co-pilot, you need to resist the temptation to use iExit at 70 mph on the turnpike; after all, by showing you the next 100 exits, it makes it possible to plan your next stop while parked at your current one.
When I arrived in Ohio, my brother, who has driven the same Interstate 70 route many times, spied the Chick-fil-A bag in the passenger seat.
“Where did you get the Chick-fil-A?” he asked.
I began to say, “Oh, let me tell you, I was so annoyed ...”
He cut me off. “Let me guess, you went forever off the highway and it took a half-hour to get back on track? I did the exact. Same. Thing.”
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OPERATING SYSTEM: iOS, Android
CREATOR: Metrocket Software
USER RATINGS: Apple, (1,325 ratings), Google Play (283 ratings)
REVIEW’S BOTTOM LINE: Helpful for those who want to plan their exits and prefer specific hotels and restaurants.