Users Find Other ‘Waze’

Posted: December 3, 2013

Double Click

Last week, I mentioned using my GPS during a recent big-city trip — today, I’ll revisit that experience.

I was going somewhere and had just reinstalled the Waze application, which I described last week; I was also running the family GPS. Both devices directed me the same way on my 25-mile — read 35-minute — trip.

About three quarters of the way to my destination, Waze updated and told me to take the next right. I ignored it because, well, I had no way of being certain the new directions were correct. As I continued driving, Waze again suggested I take the next right — which I ignored.

Suddenly, I crested a hill to find myself in stand-still traffic.  The cars sat idly and the people looked rather hostile.

For nearly an hour, I sat there barely moving. Once the cars were back underway, Garmin and Waze agreed again. When I got to my destination, I checked everything out and found that even though the Garmin has a traffic alert function, it did not work; however, Waze did. If I had taken the first right Waze suggested, I would have only been five minutes late, instead of nearly an hour late. I also checked reports in the area and saw a user had submitted a picture of the wreck.

How does Waze know to suggest an alternate route? The program tracks all GPS signals from its user base and figures — noticing actual speed traveled, as opposed to posted speed limits. Then, other cars near me slowed down, as well. Waze then automatically reroutes to quickest way.

The program also allows users to be tracked by emailing or texting “followers” a link.

They can follow you on a map to see when you will arrive. It has other available features, such as posting pictures of the traffic, reporting which lane is moving slowly, police sightings and other useful settings. You can either read or supply the information, the choice is yours. Waze will not record any information the user has not authorized.

If you ever travel out of the area, or even if you are in a hurry to get somewhere locally, try out Waze and see if it helps you avoid traffic problems.

Contact Ron Doyle at ron@doubleclicks.info.