During our latest drive down to Florida, approximately 1,200 miles (1,931 km), we re-visited the Waze app. Waze finds you the fastest route to your destination, but it also tries to help you evade police speed traps.
Waze finds the police through user tips. You can do your part: if you see a state trooper in hiding, or ticketing another driver on the shoulder, report it. If it's already been reported, confirm the police presence with a single tap.
Don't stop there, you can report or confirm any obstacle, slow down in traffic or road construction. This is crowd-sourcing, which simply means the app gets its data from us, the users. Waze is only as good as the effort we put into it.
Will Waze save you from a speeding ticket? It might, and that's the problem with it.
- You're not assured. If the police presence hasn't been reported yet (and someone has to be the first to report it, right?), then you're on your own.
- Is that reported police car where the last Wazer marked it? If it's not, then it may be hunting you, so be careful.
Waze can't offer you assurance. Worse, it offers you a false sense of assurance. So why is it popular? We felt like outlaws using it, keeping surveillance on those who conduct it on you and avoiding getting caught by the law. But in some states, exceed the speed limit excessively and you may end up with a $1,200 fine. A friend of ours got one. The officer recommended she hire a local attorney. She was able to get the fine reduced to $120. That's a big bet to place on Waze's ability to help you avoid the law.
Waze is worth using for several other reasons:
- It can assist you in finding the cheapest gas station. Police in Virginia say they're using Waze to update roadway construction zones;
- In Daytona, Waze alerted us to a red-light camera at an upcoming intersection;
- Waze is fun gameplay, breaking up long trips with small tasks or reporting and confirming. When other Wazers confirm your sighting, Waze tells you these other users have "thanked" you. This added social media participation is addicting for some.
Our confession: we deleted Waze before we reached Miami. First of all, the app performed sluggishly on my 2-year-old iPhone 6. Secondly, we stuck to the tried-and-true method of not being the first or last cars in the pack.
Maybe you’ve had nothing but good experiences with Waze. We would like to hear from you.