Waze now warns us when we approach a dangerous stretch of road. A good idea?


by Sonia Romero
published on Thursday November 9, 2023 to 09:18
4 min read

Waze, the Israeli-origin navigation app owned by Google, continues to add new options to improve the driving experience. He now warns us about roads prone to accidents, which should increase our vigilance.

Why is this important?

For nervous drivers, knowing all the possible hazards on the road in real time can be life-saving, even for the most distracted drivers. But we must be careful not to create unnecessary panic, which can be counterproductive.

In the news. Waze will now warn us about the “accident history” of a road, Google writes in a blog post.

In other words, we will now be warned when our route has an increased risk of car accidents. This risk combines historical data with crucial information about that route, such as:

  • The usual traffic levels whether it is a highway or local road.
  • Consecutive sharp bends and turns.
  • Rough or damaged roads.
  • Unfenced rural roads, etc. You get a small warning, similar to the one that informs you, for example, about the presence of police or a vehicle on the side of the road. It will tell you the distance on the road in which these accidents occur (“the next 500 meters” for example).

Real progress or a bad idea?

Analyzed. In some situations, this new feature may do more harm than good.

  • The first risk is that it can distract the driver with these unnecessary warnings. Waze already triggers many notifications, whether it’s an object on the road, a damaged vehicle, a speed camera, a traffic stop, and so on. All these notifications can often force the driver to take their eyes off the road.
    • Here’s Waze to be reassuring, though: “To minimize distractions, we are limiting the number of alerts drivers see and not broadcasting them on roads they regularly travel.”
  • But it is also possible that the most uncertain drivers suddenly change routes to avoid these “accident-prone” roads. This could then increase the risk of accidents.
  • This accident alert can further increase the stress of already highly stressed drivers.
    • Stress can distract the driver’s attention from the road, which can reduce responsiveness to danger.
    • A stressed driver may also have overly quick or inappropriate reactions, such as braking suddenly.
    • Stress can affect the coordination and precision of movements necessary for safe driving.
  • In addition, adjacent roads may experience much more traffic congestion than before as a result of this warning.
  • Sometimes their infrastructure or layout is not necessarily suitable to accommodate a large number of motorists diverted from their “more dangerous” main route.
    • This often applies to secondary roads, rural roads or small villages.
    • This will probably not be liked by the residents.

In summary. This new feature of Waze is undoubtedly a good idea. Drivers will become aware of a “dangerous” road and can exercise extra caution. But we must be careful not to fall into paranoia, as that would only increase the risk of accidents. (ddw)

The article is in Dutch
Tags: Waze warns approach dangerous stretch road good idea


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