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Apps - Jun 27, 2017

Four reasons Waze is your total BFF for summer travel

When you hit the road this season – whatever your destination – use the app that will get you there and back faster

©istockphoto.com/Solovyova

With summer finally here, most of us are making plans to hit the road for that long-awaited trip, camping getaway, week at the cottage or awesome summer festival across town. No matter where you’re headed, you won’t be the only one – meaning traffic is bound to be a real concern (and possibly a bumper-to-bumper bummer).

But did you know that sitting in a long line of barely moving vehicles isn’t necessarily inevitable anymore? What if there’s a quicker way to get from point A to point B by avoiding things like traffic jams, collisions and road closures – outsmarting traffic altogether? What if you could so without any effort at all?

Enter Waze. Available for free download for iOS and Android, Waze is a turn-by-turn GPS navigational app – with so much more. Here’s why Waze will be your total BFF for all summer travel.

1. It helps you avoid traffic jams

All navigational apps offer you what the app thinks is the best route from your starting point to your destination. But Waze goes further.

Anyone’s who left work early on a Friday to head to the cottage before rush hour knows there’s really no such thing as avoiding traffic on a summer weekend. Waze isn’t a magical traffic eliminator, but what it can do is offer you the fastest-available route based on what’s happening on the roads at that very moment. If a tractor-trailer has flipped over on one of your possible routes, for instance, Waze will know about it and offer you a better route – even if that accident hasn’t made it to your local traffic report yet.

How? Waze gets information from its thousands of users and updates your route based on that real-time info. Simply driving with the app open passively contributes traffic and other road data; users can also actively give the app road information (when pulled over, or the passenger can do so). Waze is the largest community-based traffic and navigation app available.

2. It finds you the best gas prices

Wait, what? Yep! Tell Waze you need gas, and it’ll list all the closest gas stations on your route, including the price per litre. It will also show you stations that are just slightly off your route; after all, with gas prices as high as they are, it may be worth it to delay that summer getaway for just a few extra minutes.

To find a gas station from the main map screen:

  • Tap the magnifying-glass icon
  • Tap the search box
  • Tap the gas pump icon – the list will appear

Note that you can specify your preferred stations and gas type in the app’s settings to customize your search results.

3. It’s customizable based on your preferences

Want to avoid that pesky toll road on the way to the cottage? In Settings, tap Navigation, then toggle on “Avoid toll roads.” Prefer to take the slower scenic route? Under Navigation, toggle on “Avoid freeways.” You can even tell Waze whether you prefer the fastest route or the shortest one – they’re not always the same. Waze is available in dozens of languages; it defaults to English, but you can change that, as well as the voice used for direction commands.

4. It keeps your family safer

Waze offers features that help ensure the safety of your family. For example, the “Child Reminder” option messages you when you arrive at your destination to prompt you to remove your kids from it when you unpack. (It may seem unbelievable that a parent could forget the child in their car, but sadly, it does happen.)

Waze also displays your vehicle speed right beside the road’s actual speed limit, which helps keep you and family safe. (Hey, we’re all in a hurry to enjoy the summer, but the top priority is to arrive in one piece.)

Finally, Waze displays where police officers are located on the roads. This can save you the hassle and expense of a ticket, but more important, it’s another reminder to drive safely.

Waze is free to download (data charges may apply). For more information on Waze, click here.