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Waze just got another cool new feature that Google Maps needs to steal

Published Aug 12th, 2020 10:09PM EDT
Waze New Features
Image: Kaspars Grinvalds/Adobe

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  • Waze just got a new safety feature that will work globally on both Android and iPhone.
  • Waze maps will now display railroad crossing warnings, prompting drivers to be extra careful when approaching them.
  • Waze has been working with data from official railroad operators in several countries, including the US and Canada. Waze volunteers updated maps in other countries in territories with crossing information.

Google Maps might be Google’s most popular navigation app, but it’s not the only one. Google also owns Waze, an app that many drivers prefer over Google Maps thanks to a feature that makes it more useful.

Waze deploys crowdsourced information about the traffic ahead that can be incredibly useful to those people who commute a lot or drive for a living. Google Maps has been getting some of these features as well last year, but it’s still Waze that has the edge over Google Maps. And Google just updated Waze with another cool feature that should improve the safety of drivers. We’re looking at a new alert for railroad crossings.

Waze said in an announcement that the feature is “unique to Waze and puts drivers’ safety first, helping them return to the roads by highlighting the potential risks associated with driving over railroad crossings.”

Waze explains that the decision to add railroad crossing alerts follows recommendations from the US Senate and the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to navigation apps to help reduce the number of railroad crossing accidents and fatalities.

Users in the US, Belgium, and Canada may already be aware of the feature, as it rolled out earlier this year in those regions, but it’s now available internationally.

Waze’s new railroad crossing warning alert. Image source: Waze

Waze worked with the US Federal Railroad Administration and other similar organizations in the US, Canada, France, and Mexico, to add railroad crossings to maps. The organizations provided the crossing data, which was then verified by Waze volunteers. Local map editors then took the initiative to incorporate crossings in maps for other countries, including UK, Italy, Israel, Brazil, Colombia, Belgium, Poland, Hungary, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Netherlands, and Ireland. More countries and territories will likely support the feature in the future.

The feature will is available on both Android and iPhone and will automatically alert drivers that they’re approaching a railroad crossing. A banner will appear on the Waze app to highlight the crossing and encourage the driver to approach with caution, as see in the image above.

It’s likely that Google Maps will get a similar feature in the future, and we might see railroad crossing alerts pop up on other competing apps as well. But if you’re driving a lot, Waze is the way to go to take advantage of this particular safety feature.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.