May 29, 2015

Favs: Outsmart Traffic for Good!

I admit I'm a little slow to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to apps, because there are just so many. This past May has been a whirlwind of out of town weekend trips, and it hasn't been exactly relaxing. I've had to balance them with college course work on top of my usual responsibilities. It wasn't until a one and half hour delay that my significant other, Mr. T., convinced me I should have the app, Waze, on my phone. He'd been singing its praises for months.

Waze is a free real time traffic app that takes into account traffic lights, accidents, and even lurking police officers with radar guns. It uses a combination of local online map editors and actual real time users to determine which routes are the fastest now and what sneaky shortcuts are available. It's simple to learn and use. I had to pull over to a gas station when I first downloaded it, then it took me under ten minutes to figure it out.

Once you give Waze your intended address, like a GPS, it guides you via visual map and audio narrator to your destination. The wonderful thing is, you don't have to rely on a plain GPS which only gives you the shortest geographical route. With Waze, users on their way send to their destinations send feedback whenever they encounter obstacles by clicking on a report feature. Thus, on your trip, Waze will warn you of what's ahead before you get there. Including potholes! Even if you are traveling to town this app is great for re-routing you around traffic accidents and construction before you even know they are there. It will show you shortcuts you never considered taking and make your time in the car more efficient and less stressful.

So far in my experience as a newbie, I have taken a 20-minute detour that saved me an hour and a half delay coming into Nashville. Driving home through Atlanta, it guided me off my usual route around the 285 loop and directed me through downtown. At the time, I thought it was nuts, then I found out there was construction on the loop, and I would have sat for at least 45 minutes. Whew! There are lots more fun features. You can find friends and travel in groups with the ability to see where your friends are on the highway. There are report features if you want to let other motorists know about accidents or other problems. You can even email a route to a friend to help them find their way. My best advice is to plug your phone into your car's speakers so you can hear well and not have to look at your phone, which is dangerous.

I'm not one to gush unless I love, love, love something, and this new traffic is worth the blog post. They have a website you can visit here, or I just downloaded the app to my phone from the Apple app store. Either way, Waze is a great new community-based real time solution to get us to where we need to go, and fast. That means less stress and less wasted gasoline, too. I hope this makes your life a little easier as it has mine. Enjoy!

Stay balanced!
~Danielle Thorne

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