What is Waze? Waze is a free, ad-supported navigation app designed to make driving more efficient. It uses your phone’s GPS and social media-based crowdsourcing to find routes, and provide you with real-time traffic information. Waze allows users to share information such as traffic conditions and anything else that might impact driving. Because Waze uses crowdsourced data, the more users in an area, the better the user experience. More users help update and verify information faster, making the app more accurate. Waze provides turn-by-turn navigation to help you find everything from your fastest route home to the cheapest gas station in your area. Waze is available as a standalone app on AppStore and Google Play for easy and free access. It’s compatible with both CarPlay and Android Auto for more effortless pairing with your car. How to Use Waze Once you’ve successfully downloaded and set up Waze, all you have to do is look up your destination using the apps search feature. You can access the search function through the magnifying glass on the bottom left of your screen. You can use the microphone icon at the top of the window for the voice search function. Waze lets you list your frequently used addresses, like work or home, on the app for easy access. Using this feature, you will only need to search “work” or “home,” and the app will automatically direct you there. Once you look up an address, Waze will find the best route to your destination using the available community data to give you the best ETA. Key Features on Waze Waze is popularly referred to as the world’s best community-based navigation app, and with good reason. It gives you access to a variety of features that elevate your driving experience. These include: Pre-Planning Trips Using Waze Regular route planning is a function on Waze that recommends the best times to travel based on the community data in your area. It takes into account variables like increased rush hour traffic, detours, and accidents to give you an estimated time of arrival. You can specify when you want to arrive, and Waze will send you a notification when it’s the best time to leave so that you arrive on time. Waze allows you to check alternative routes and their estimated arrival times through the app. You can connect your contacts and Facebook friends to your Waze app. This way, you can synchronize your planned trips with your calendar and Facebook events. Share Real-Time Waze Routes with Friends Image from: Teresa Trimm Once you set off on your drive, the Waze up displays the distance and estimated arrival time at the bottom of the screen. By tapping on this information, you can access a pop-up menu that shows more details, including the option to “Send ETA.” This function allows you to share your route, and other trip information in real-time, with other Waze users. These users are then able to respond to your trip information with comments. On Android, Waze allows you to share this information over several other options. Use Hands-Free and Voice Controls on Waze Another impressive feature on Waze is its hands-free navigation using just your voice. Taking your eyes off the road is one of the most dangerous things you can do while driving. But through “Talk to Waze,” you can operate the app without taking your hands off the wheel, or eyes off the road. Turn on this feature by heading into Settings > Sound & Voice > Talk to Waze > Toggle listen for “OK Waze.” After this, you will be able to initiate drive, preview your routes, send reports, or even add pit stops by saying “OK Waze.” Waze Speed Monitoring Waze also has a speedometer function that helps monitor your driving speed. This feature comes with optional audible alerts when you exceed the speed limit. The speedometer function is an optional feature that you can turn on, or off if you would rather not have the speeding alerts. Incident Reporting Image from: Waze Map and Navigation Waze enables different users to alert each other about the traffic and prevailing road conditions in their area. To report an incident, tap on the speech bubble icon on the bottom right of the screen and select the alert type. These include: traffic, crashes, police, map issues, hazards, or road issues, then tap send. After you do this, other Waze users can confirm and update your reports. This can then earn you points, and help unlock awards within the Waze scoreboard. How to Protect Your Privacy on Waze Waze provides different ways to connect with your friends, family, and other users. You can even connect your Waze account with Facebook and your contacts. Although these features make navigation easier, they can compromise your privacy. For instance, with these features enabled, other Waze users can see your Waze icon along with some basic information about you. They can see your location on the Waze map. However, if you wish to remain anonymous on Waze, then you can switch them off in your settings. Go into Settings > Privacy Settings > Toggle on “Go Invisible.” You can delete addresses stored on Waze by heading into Settings > Planned Drives > click on “Remove Saved Addresses.” To turn off background location access for Waze, go into Settings > Privacy Settings > Location and then disable access to your location when you close the app. How to Track Your Mileage on Waze Ultimate Vehicle Mileage Tracker. Never stress about mileage tracker again! Waze is primarily a mapping and navigation app. However, it has a background feature that tracks your mileage when you have the app running on your screen. You can then go into your account to view your tracked mileage after your drive. This works fine if you wish to track your mileage, and don’t cover a lot of business miles. But it requires that you are comfortable with manually retrieving your mileage records from the app. However, the Waze mileage tracker is not automated. You need to always remember to have your Waze app running whenever you wish to track your miles. Also, keep in mind that the Waze mileage tracker does not allow you to distinguish between personal and business miles. And, you cannot store your supporting mileage expense records as per the IRS’s requirements for mileage deductions and reimbursement. What Is Your Best Mileage Tracking Option? Waze is an exceptional mapping app that goes beyond basic navigation to give you more control over your driving environment. It offers you a wide range of features and customizable options to suit your navigation needs. One of these features enables it to track your mileage. Unfortunately, this does not make it a good mileage tracking app. For individuals who travel a lot, or drive for work, Waze will not be able to meet their mileage tracking needs. Thankfully, there is no shortage of incredible mileage tracking apps for such individuals. GOFAR is one such app. It offers a fully automated mileage tracking and reporting and is capable of handling even the most demanding tracking needs. GOFAR can automatically detect when you start and stop driving. It allows you to easily tag your trips as either business or personal. What’s more, GOFAR gives you the ability to generate IRS compatible mileage reports, which you can send to your email in a few simple steps. It comes with a variety of other functions, including the ability to schedule maintenance and repairs to keep your car running in tip-top shape. For your navigation needs, Waze is the way to go. But if a range-topping mileage tracker is what you need, look no further than GOFAR.