Road-warrior small business owners and employees (especially, over-the-road truckers) were among the earliest participants in the traffic-data sharing community, Waze.

Unlike other mapping apps that help you find a destination (a “where?” app), Waze is a “why?” app. It provides drivers (but preferably passengers), the ability to learn why they are in a traffic jam.

Waze was acquired by Google in 2013, but some of its most popular community-oriented features had not made it to iPhone’s Google apps — until now. (Android’s Google Maps app received the “why” features earlier.)

Here are features coming to Google Maps that are Waze-inspired.

iPhone Google Maps users will now have the ability to monitor reported up-coming auto crashes, speed traps, and traffic slowdowns — all right from your iOS device.

Google Map iPhone users (see caution, below) will be able to report the following types of incidents

  • Construction
  • Lane closure
  • Disabled vehicles
  • Objects on the roadway

If you see the appearance of an icon representing one of those potential obstructions, you can use it to make alternative driving plans.

“Waze-like” features that have made it to Google Maps’ iOS app.

How it works | To report an incident, tap on the + sign and then on “Add a report.” 

Notes of Caution | Drivers should not interact with mapping apps while operating a moving vehicle. That’s what helpful passengers are for. Please, don’t update driving conditions from behind the wheel. Here are the Waze terms of service with lots of information and warnings about using technology while driving. Also, U.S. law enforcement has been critical of using this type of technology to report checkpoints to identify those under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and other types of police presence, something they say heightens safety risks on the road.

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