Waze iPhone app is best for the backseat driver

Feb 15, 2011
Tech

Waze is a free iPhone app that transforms your phone into a community-based GPS mapping program. It calls itself a social navigation app that uses real-time traffic updates from its members, instead of traditional means. So, in other words, as a driver sees an accident or spots a police radar trap, it’s recorded into the […]

Waze is a free iPhone app that transforms your phone into a community-based GPS mapping program. It calls itself a social navigation app that uses real-time traffic updates from its members, instead of traditional means. So, in other words, as a driver sees an accident or spots a police radar trap, it’s recorded into the system and all Waze members can rely on that useful bit of information. It sounds as if it would be a great driving tool.

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But as a solo driver, you can’t record these things as they happen: It’s virtually impossible. That is why I can’t see using it as a true GPS tool. The other day, I found myself driving while trying to use Waze. I saw there was a lot of input from members, but the interface is clunky and hard to figure out. Plus, it takes a lot of focus to see where things are, and when I’m driving, I want quick answers in large print. That’s where this app fails. Perhaps for someone traveling with the driver, these things could be appreciated. But it’s still a lot of work, and is asking a lot of the driver. The other thing I didn’t like about it was that it sapped my battery.

I did like the orientation of the map: It’s a bird’s-eye view, instead of looking straight down. I also like the alerts to various hazards and road conditions, including accidents and construction. It would be more helpful to have this information directly on the map so we could see where the accident is.

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