Full disclosure – I want you to start using the Waze app on your phone while you’re driving to get directions, because maybe someday I’ll be on the highway a little distance behind you and you’ll be adding to the crowd-sourced speed and traffic information provided to everyone.
Waze harnesses the real-time location information from all its users and distributes it to everyone, so as soon as traffic begins to build up, the word gets out. It will start to route drivers around the jam, so the jam starts to shrink. Or you can be a little more hands-on – when you start to see the brake lights go on ahead, Waze will tell you whether you’ll be past it all soon or whether the road is blocked all the way to your destination. Get off the highway and Waze will direct you to the quickest new route.
To get the maximum benefit, it’s best to have a copilot/navigator handle the Wazing. There is too much information on the screen to digest while driving, and posting information is a little too distracting (although you can do it with voice commands). To just use navigation, the information is spoken through the Bluetooth connection, politely interrupting the music. The speech can be set on one of the voices that tells you everything: right, left and the full name of the exit or street. Or have the voice of Elvis tell you when to go left or right.
Waze also warns you of objects in the road, vehicles parked on the shoulder, red light cameras and police cars. Its maps are constantly being updated by the Waze user community.
We just priced a new car – the absolute top of the line loaded model differed from the next one down mostly because of the navigation system. That’s $3,500 worth of vehicle navigation that will ultimately be obsolete. We decided to go with Waze instead – it’s free.
Learn more and get it here.