How This Great New Waze Feature Could Become the First Thing Users Disable

Waze speed bump alert 6 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
Waze speed bump warningsWaze speed bump warningsConsecutive speed bumpsWaze speed bump warningsWaze speed bump warnings
They say Waze's days are numbered, and Google only needs a bit more time to integrate the app into Google Maps.
That's not true, and Google has already demonstrated on multiple occasions that Google Maps and Waze will continue to operate independently, especially as they have different purposes. Google Maps will focus on things like world exploration, businesses, and bringing home the bacon, while Waze will be all about traffic navigation.

The recent major update announced in April is another sign that Google has no integration to integrate Waze into Google Maps.

With this update, Waze is getting long overdue features and significant navigation improvements that make every second you spend on the road safer and more convenient.

One of them is support for speed bumps.

Waze speed bump warnings
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
Speed bumps are everywhere you look in large cities, and despite using multiple forms and designs, their purpose is to make drivers slow down. I won't comment on their efficiency because this is a no-brainer, but there are moments when the driver fails to see them for various reasons, like bad weather. The road signage is also often missing, making it impossible for the person behind the wheel to anticipate the speed bump on the road just in front of the car.

We've all been there. Hitting a speed bump isn't the end of the world, but it certainly isn't something you'd want to do regularly. The second major consequence is hard braking, as some drivers push the brake pedal hard when they see the speed bump literally meters in front of them.

Speed bump warnings in Waze are a fantastic addition. Announced in April and supposed to start rolling out by the end of the month, the speed bumps are only now going live for users worldwide. However, not all speed bumps are currently on the map, as editors must add them one by one – users can't report speed bumps, as they are considered a road feature.

The Waze community in my home city is incredibly active (thank you for being so awesome, by the way), so road changes typically appear on the map in hours. Speed bumps are already going live across the city as we speak, but as I was driving with Waze on the screen, I quickly discovered one major shortcoming.

Speed bumps are incredibly frequent where I live, and one street in another neighborhood is known to be the home of eight separate speed limiters. Authorities here really want drivers to reduce speed, so they spammed us with speed bumps as hard as possible. I'm sure the same thing happened in other populated regions worldwide, and this takes me to the downside of this great new feature.

Consecutive speed bumps
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
Speed bumps can quickly become redundant, unnecessary, and annoying because they keep showing up on the screen in the same places over and over again. You can assume I'm already aware that a speed bump is on the street I live on, so I don't see a reason to get a notification every time I arrive or leave home.

While I could live with this notification, here's another example I encountered today. As I was driving to my kid's kindergarten, I got a notification on the screen that I was approaching a speed bump. Once I got past the speed bump, another warning popped up on the screen, informing me of another speed bump ahead. The same thing happened one more time, so I had a speed bump alert on my CarPlay screen for several minutes. The alert blocks valuable screen estate, the map, and what happens around, eventually defeating Waze's main purpose.

Navigation apps should be easy to use, straightforward, and convenient. They should help the driver during the time spent behind the wheel, not take over the entire experience. It's wrong to think that spamming the driver with information makes the road safer and more predictable. It makes the driving experience more stressful and even more distracting, as I kept looking at the screen every time I got the speed bump notification.

Unfortunately, Waze does not allow users to disable speed bumps separately. The company has integrated them into a group called "permanent road features" (the same category is known as "permanent road hazards" among map editors), so if you want to disable speed bumps, you'd also lose other warnings.

Waze speed bump warnings
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
Waze needs a feature to block the app from issuing warnings of hazards that the driver is already aware of if their previous routes included the same locations. The company could also fix this shortcoming by grouping similar notifications. For consecutive speed bumps, Waze should display a notification warning the driver of "two speed bumps ahead" rather than issue a separate alert for every hazard. A new design would also be great to reduce the screen estate used by these alerts.

It probably won't take long before more users discover the same shortcomings, especially as the speed bump rollout progresses.

Let me know what you think in the box below.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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