Do you Waze?

Do you Waze?

If you don't,  you should. I downloaded this gamified navigation app about 2 months ago, and I love it. I love it more than the navigation systems in the test cars I drive. Why? Because it gives me a more accurate arrival times (usually +/- 5 minutes), and it follows the Chicago express lanes in real time.

For example, this morning I was heading downtown for a 9:45 appointment, and typically, I'll enter the Kennedy from Kimball so that I can hop in the express lanes. But, as I was trying to merge into the express lane, Waze told me to exit and take the local lanes. In fact, the picture (above) even showed a deep red line (which denotes standstill traffic) on the express lanes versus a mere red line (heavy traffic) in the local lanes.

When I turned on WBBM for traffic on the 8s, I learned there was a stalled vehicle in the express lanes at North Avenue, and that it would take me an extra 15 minutes to get downtown if I used them. And that would have made me late for my appointment.

However, I should point out that Waze is only as good as the people using the app. It does, to a  point, sense the movement of your vehicle and send data to the app that way. But, the more people who note obstructions, traffic and construction, the more useful it is to everyone. When I was in New Orleans a couple weeks ago, very few people were using this app, thus the traffic times were a tad skewed and very few obstructions were marked.

waze_2My favorite feature on the app: The cop watch. See a cop, pin his location, help others avoid a speed trap. As you see in the photo at the right, when a cop has been spotted, you get a notification about a half mile out. Then, if he's not there when  you pass, you can send the update that he's moved on.

Even if I don't need directions, I typically turn Waze on while I'm driving so that I can see where the traffic and cops are during my commute.

A word of caution, however. Yes, this is gamified. But, the app creators intend for you to play the game part only as a passenger. And, if you try to set a destination while moving, it does ask if you are the passenger to continue.

So, my support of this app in no way condones distracted driving. Like any navigation system, you should set your destination before you drive, and leave it to your passengers to pin cops and obstructions.

This is one of my favorite driving-type apps. What's yours? I'm always looking for good car, music, parking, driving and navigation apps. Comment below to tell me what I'm missing!

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Filed under: Cool apps, News you can use

Tags: Waze

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  • No, but I wheeze sometimes.

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