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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Waze to Go

The other day, we made the three-hour drive to the beach where my parents have a condo. Only it wasn't a three-hour drive.

It was pouring as we hit the road, and as we turned onto the highway, we found ourselves in stopped traffic. For miles.

Navigation wasn't helping us. Just piping out the same old route, completely oblivious to the fact that it was blocked off. It didn't tell us what was ahead, or how far, or what was being done. It didn't give us an alternate way. As far as it was concerned, we could sit there all day. And we would have.

Enter Waze.

This is an app I downloaded accidentally at least a year ago, while looking for the very navigation app that was failing me now.

When I opened it all that time ago, there was nothing special about it that I could see. Perhaps not enough people were using it.

The other day, however, not only did it show me where we were and where we were going, it laid out alternate routes, and most satisfyingly it told me what was going on up there. It showed me where the problem was. Which told me how far we had to detour before we could get back on the highway.

It was amazing.

It single-handedly saved our trip.

And how did it do it?

Other people.

In Waze, people driving on the roads can check in at any point of their journey. Their message and speed is saved for all other Waze users to see for a period of hours. So that I knew that an hour ago, someone came across a massive accident in the left-hand lane in Micanopy. I knew that as of three minutes ago traffic was still at a standstill. Two different posters, updating the local situation. Looking farther down, I saw a car fire on the northbound lanes causing rubberneck slowdowns on our side. I saw that 301 was flowing smoothly. And so excited was I about this useful information, that I posted my own information, telling people to get off the highway and use 301 as an alternate route, where traffic was clear.

And Waze stopped me. It saw that the car was moving and didn't want drivers posting while driving. I had to tell them I was a passenger (which I was). I loved that!

People are using Waze to report speed traps, traffic delays, construction, weather-related traffic news, and even just to check in when everything is fine.

It's amazing. And it's free. And everyone should use it. Seriously.

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  1. Nice. Thanks for sharing. We got lost on our 8 hour drive down to Philly from our hometown in Canada. This definitely would have been useful.

  2. Hi there! This is Daniel from Waze. Glad our app could come in handy for you! Our goal is to save people 5 minutes off their commute every day but often it can amount to even more. Feel free to stop by our Facebook page to share your story or just say hello.



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