Using Waze Smartly and Safely

Using Waze Smartly and Safely

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I love using Waze! Hopefully, by the end of this piece, you will become a Waze believer, too.

What is Waze?Waze

Waze is more than your typical navigation app. Has your GPS ever alerted you of police speed traps (not that we would ever speed) or objects in the road? Waze makes navigation both fun and interactive by creating a community that “outsmarts traffic together” (as its tagline goes).

How does Waze work?


While en route, Waze users submit real-time driving reports that are used to update nearby drivers traveling along the same route. Alerts include — but are not limited to — traffic slow downs, police surveillance, inclement weather, accidents and more. By crowdsourcing all this information, Waze users help their fellow ‘Wazers’ get to their destination more efficiently as well as behave more safely on the road by knowing what’s ahead.

To sum it up: The Waze mobile app helps its users both anticipate traffic issues and behave proactively as defensive drivers.

For example: If Waze alerts you of a vehicle stopped on the shoulder, then you’ll know to look out for it. If Waze tells you there’s a traffic jam ahead, then you can prepare to slow down instead of suddenly slamming on your brakes. All in all, I’ve found that Waze is a huge help for avoiding incidents.

Is Waze safe to use while I’m driving?

If you’ve visited Be Car Chic before, you know we’re passionate about safe driving – and distraction-free driving. You may be wondering if it is safe to send reports to Waze while driving. My answer is yes – with two caveats. You should either have a car mount (a good idea for any phone use while driving) or a passenger who can send reports on your behalf.

By placing your phone in a car mount like I do, you are able to easily read about and report hazards without taking your eyes completely off the road, as you would if you were simply holding your phone in hand and looking down. Waze also will announce audibly upcoming traffic issues, so there’s no need to look at your phone more often than you would a regular GPS providing you directions.

Also of note, the buttons for reporting incidents are large and clear, so in a matter of 2-3 seconds, your report is filed and begins alerting other ‘Wazers’ on your route.IMG_4930

Real-time Reporting

Did I mention that Waze also uses its real-time reports to recalculate your route if a faster one becomes available? That, in my opinion, is one of the app’s best features. If taking a back road will save me 20 minutes stuck on the highway, I’m all for it.

In addition, the more you use Waze, the more intuitive it becomes, logging your favorite routes and even recommending routes based on the time of day you open the app. For example, Waze knows to predict my work route when I open the app around 8 a.m. and my home route around 5 p.m., which makes my life easier because I can just open the app, mount the phone and be on my way!

Does Waze show my friends and family where I’m driving?

Although your friends can see when you’re online, sharing your drive with others is optional. Users can select fellow ‘Wazers’ with whom to share their drive. Once a user shares their drive with another Wazer, or even a non-user, that person will have access to a map that displays where you are along the route and what your estimated time of arrival (ETA) is.

#PROTIP: Connect the Waze app with Facebook and when one or more of your friends are traveling to the same physical address as you, Waze will provide you with everyone’s ETA. This is great if you are meeting some friends for a movie and don’t want to have to continually text them asking how far away they are.

If you don’t want others to see where you are going, then not to worry. Your Waze reports will remain visible to other users while you’re en route and nothing more.

Ready to give Waze a try?

The Waze mobile app is available for most mobile devices. Download it from the App Store, Google Play or the Windows Phone Store.

If you try Waze out, tweet me your thoughts @whitneygonzalez or shoot me a message in the comments below.

Current ‘Wazers’: Do you have anything to add? Would love to hear from you as well!

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This article was written by

Melanie Batenchuk founded Be Car Chic in 2009 as a way to help consumers make smart decisions when buying and selling their cars. Her prior work at the dealership, trade association and manufacturer levels has provided her a deep understanding of the complex facets within the auto industry, making her a leading woman in her field.