Do you know the Waze?

We recently bought a used car equipped with Ford’s Sync system. The car had an older version of Sync that did not interface with Apple Car Play. Our trusty iPhone GPS just wouldn’t play nice with the Sync system.

During my search for a GPS solution that would work with Sync, I found Waze. After a little trial and error, I finally got Waze to cooperate with Sync. I have to admit I was pretty satisfied with the iPhone GPS and Waze took a little getting used to.

Waze Report ScreenAfter a couple of trips using Waze, I’m hooked. Waze is our new favorite GPS solution. It does everything our iPhone GPS app did. The big advantage of Waze is the ability for users to make updates on the fly. For example, if you see a car pulled over on the side of the road you can tell Waze. Almost immediately Waze will alert other drivers of the car on the shoulder. Pretty cool. Same goes for other types of alerts – police, road closed, detours, and traffic. When you receive an alert you can acknowledge the alert or indicate that there is no longer a problem. Interactive!

Very interactive. Waze even tells other users where you are and what you are doing. If other users see you entering a store, they can tell you about the great sales going on inside. You can also report problems. If you are in a bad neighborhood and see a broken light you can tell Waze about it. Immediately other users will see the problem reported and know they need to be careful while driving in that area. I’ve found all this to be true with both the paid and free version of Waze. One thing I should point out is that there is an app for Android phones called “Waze”. I have not used this app so I cannot comment on how well it works. However, I did recently read a review of the app written by someone who had used both the Apple and Android versions of Waze. This person said the Android version is much slower than the Apple version. Perhaps this is due to the fact I haven’t used the Android version so I don’t know if that is true or not.

The maps are up to date and displayed nicely. The turn-by-turn directions are great as you would expect from any good GPS. But even if you don’t have a destination plugged in, we love having Waze turned on just for the ability to be alerted to traffic situations ahead.

It’s like having your own personal “cop on the road” who will tell you about problems (without the blue and white lights and siren) long before the problem gets to a level where you have to deal with it yourself. And, when you do finally do get a problem, Waze will give you step-by-step instructions on how to handle it. Waze is free but has several paid features including live traffic alerts, location history (where you have been), ability to report problems, and more. Personally, I have no need for any of these features.

There is also a Car Pool feature that let’s you be a driver or a rider.

If you are a driver, you can set your phone to automatically text you when there are empty seats in the car next to you. Then, you can fill up that seat with someone else who needs a ride rather than sitting there all alone in your car. If you are a rider, you can text people offering to give them a lift instead of standing on the side of the road waving down a car. One last thing, Waze will work just as well if you don’t have a smartphone. In other words, if you are using an older flip phone or a feature phone, you can download the Waze app onto one of those phones and use it just as effectively as you could if you were using a smartphone. Now, let’s talk about a few things you should NOT do while using Waze. First off, do not pay attention to the ratings given to different routes. The reason for this is, when you are following directions, the route your GPS program is using is the “shortest” route.

Waze is owned by Google. It’s free although it sometimes displays advertising. This is only a minor distraction.

Bottom line… we love Waze and recommend it.