There are useful apps and there are those absolute-must-have-and-wonder-what-you-did-without-it type of apps. Waze, falls into the latter.
I am still genuinely surprised when I people ask “what’s Waze?” so for those who don’t know, I am about to change your life!
Waze is an application that allows you to navigate from point A to point B. However, Waze chooses the best route for you not only based on distance but also based on current traffic conditions. Waze constantly monitors your journey and keeps updating the route to as it navigates around the horrendous traffic conditions.
“Get the best route, every day, with real–time help from other drivers.” is how Waze.com site describes it.
Waze sources its traffic information from many sources, but most importantly from other Waze users. Crowdsourcing of real-time information keeps everyone updated constantly. As you use Waze, the system recognizes that you have slowed down from 120km/h on the freeway to just 2 km/h therefore there must be something wrong. If other Waze users experience the same then it verifies that there is something wrong – now all other users know to avoid that segment.
Within Waze, you can report traffic as a standstill or report a road hazard such as a broken down car. You are also able to report where police are although I don’t really support this feature- if you are drunk don’t drive.
One of the common problems that Wazers report is the route that Waze selects for you isn’t always ideal and in fact in some cases really takes you on on a much longer journey than necessary.
As a long time user of Waze, I have experienced this too, but here are some tips to make sure that Waze does your bidding:
Tip 1 – Multiple Routes
Waze wants to take you on a journey that according to its calculation is the shortest based on time. Therefore the default route that it chooses might be longer in kilometers/miles. So when you enter your destination, don’t just accept the first route it selects for you. Rather tap on Routes and have a look at the various options (usually there are three to choose from).
If I am heading on a “long” trip (for me that means anything over 30 minutes), I like to check that Waze is actually keeping me on the best route. I tap back on the Routes option and it will simply give me the three best routes from my current location. Not only does it validate for me that the selected route is still ideal, but it lets me see if there are other routes based on new traffic conditions that weren’t there when I started out.
Tip 2 – Stay Calm and Update
Some of the comments on forums are that “Waze inaccurately reported a road hazard but there was none”. If I am told that a traffic light isn’t working, or there is hazard in the road ahead or an accident and I drive past, and not see it, I can use the app to update Waze. This not only makes the mapping more accurate but also helps other people.
Tip 3 – Battery
Waze uses two of the most battery hungry components on the phone: the GPS and the screen. Therefore, I make sure I have my phone plugged into the cigarette-lighter USB adapter so that the phone keeps the current charge level. I also leave the Waze audio function on so that I can turn off the screen especially if I am on the freeway for many miles.
Tip 4 – Link Contacts
If you have your contracts linked to Waze, you can simply navigate to a friend by just typing his/ her name as the destination. Waze will look it up for you. Same works if you have a work address saved in your contact list.
Send ETA is a great feature too if you enabled the Contact list. When you are on route to meet friends/ family – you are able to send them your Estimate Time of Arrival (ETA) so they know when to expect you.
Tip 5 – Sync your Calendar
If you have the address of your next appointment in your calendar, Waze can read that information (if you allow it to) and at a touch of a button you can begin navigating there. This saves you having to retype anything.
As my friend Carly said: its aWAZEing !
By the way: have you checked out the 10 Google Tips and Tricks post? Bet you didn’t know Google can do all of that ! (I didn’t either….)