Every town has its share of dangerous roads and intersections. Now, using community-sourced data, Waze will warn drivers when an upcoming road has a “history of crashes.” This warning will only appear when external factors, such as traffic or elevation, may increase the risk of an accident. And, to minimize distractions, drivers won’t be warned about roads they regularly travel.
Most navigation apps, including Google Maps and Apple Maps, ask very little from their users. But Waze has a dedicated panel where drivers can report accidents, roadside hazards, hidden police cars, road closures, and other information. This information is shared with other Waze users to encourage cautious driving, though it also contributes to unique features like the “history of crashes” warning.
The “history of crashes” warning is pretty simple—a notification appears at the bottom of your screen, and a voice tells you that an upcoming road has a “history of crashes.” Waze hopes to make drivers cautious without creating a distraction or a source of anxiety, so additional context is not provided. This is in stark contrast to the DOT highway signs that try to scare drivers with death tolls and other grim information. Waze’s warning system is more similar to the red hazard signs that appear alongside some roads.
Of course, Waze already offers a wealth of safety features, including real-time accident data, roadside hazard warnings, and construction warnings. Waze is also notable for its quick response to road closures and changes in traffic patterns. These features are largely community-driven, though it should be noted that mission-critical data (like new traffic patterns) can only be contributed by longtime community members and local authorities. Waze users who have joined over the last few years can really only submit basic traffic data, like traffic jams, roadside hazards, police presence, and so on.
The Waze navigation app is free on iOS and Android. Unlike Google Maps and Apple Maps, the Waze app is only for driving and cannot provide navigation when cycling or walking. Its map is also far less detailed than what you get in other navigation apps (though this could be a good thing, depending on your preferences).