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Navigation app now helps you avoid high-risk crime areas

Navigation app now helps you avoid high-risk crime areas
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

Traffic is the absolute worst. Endless red lights, construction, accidents and gridlock on the highways are enough to drive anyone mad. Luckily, there's an app that can help you get out of these jams.

It's called Waze and it's been hailed as "the best way to beat traffic." But now, the Waze app just became even more intuitive when it comes to making left turns.

Waze is known around the world for getting people from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. However, these new upgrades to the traffic and navigation app may actually add time to your busy commute – but it’s for your own safety.

The numbers don't lie. About 12 percent of crashes injuring pedestrians and bicyclists in Los Angeles are caused by cars making left turns where there are no stop signs or traffic lights. Waze calls these "difficult intersections."

Waze admits the new feature will add a few minutes to your commute, and not all "difficult intersections" can be avoided, but it also claims your drive will be much safer. The feature is an option. Users can turn it off if they want to save time. Right now, the "difficult intersection” option is only available in Los Angeles where 10 percent of all drivers use the app. Other cities like New Orleans, Boston, and Washington D.C. are set to get the app later this year. In the meantime, Los Angeles city officials are already praising the feature saying it will improve safety.

A second feature, aimed at making Wazers safe, helps them avoid areas with high-crime rates. It is launching in Brazil, and is coming less than one year after a couple using the app found themselves in one of Rio de Janeiro’s notorious slum areas. Regina Mrumura, 70, was shot and killed while traveling in the car with her husband.

So in order to make the app safer to use for everybody, Waze can reroute its users around these difficult intersections, help them avoid highways, toll roads and even high-crime areas.

While these new work-arounds may add some time to your daily commute, I think we can all agree it's better to be safe than sorry.

For now, the updates are only available in Los Angeles and next will be taking on New Orleans, but the goal is to extend use of the feature before the Summer Olympics. So far no word on when or if the feature will hit the U.S.

If you have a "difficult intersection" to report to the Waze Community you can report it inside the Waze app by going to Report >> Map Issue.

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Source: Waze
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