App advice: Waze

The Waze icon.I’ve always been a firm believer that stress is the root cause of bad things – disease, depression, cold sores on lips.  It’s imperative we reduce the amount in our daily lives.  It starts with managing expectations.  If our goals lean toward perfection – the ideal weight, the always-fulfilling job, the polite and helpful 2.3 children – we will continuously be disappointed and disappointment causes stress.  If we expect green lights and punctual arrivals and get red lights instead, we will drive too fast and be anxiously late for everything.  Surely there’s another way.

It’s called Waze.

This amazing app will do little to reduce the tension you feel watching your child attempt to write articulate, soul-revealing essays for college applications, but it will get you to the hospital more efficiently should you suspect that pain in your left arm is a heart attack.  It won’t decrease your agita on the job when you hear an idiot co-worker got promoted, but it’ll get you to the local watering hole faster so you can drown your sorrows before the stress sets in.

What is Waze?

First, I’m not getting paid to advertise their services.  I’m just doing this out of the goodness of my heart and in appreciation for your continued support on Daily Cup of Jo.

It’s an app.  Go to your app store on your smart phone and download it.  It’s free.  Now set up an account and tell them what they need to know.  Then on the ‘home page’, tap on the bubble in the lower left-hand corner and then tap on ‘Navigate’.  Either type in the exact address of your destination, or just give the name of the place.  It’ll search the web for you and give you choices.  Select the correct one and you’re on your way.  (You can learn about the bells and whistles later.)

Waze is a social GPS that uses real-time road conditions reported from its users.  It’ll give you the fastest route to your destination and the estimated time of arrival.  Unlike Sigalert.com, which was wrong about traffic 40-50% of the time (that’s anecdotal), Waze has served me well 98% of the time (again, I’m guessing).  Considering the amount of travel we do every weekend for soccer, and soon for volleyball, it saves me countless minutes and leaves me out of frustrating standstills with no apparent cause.  Ten to thirty minutes before I go just about anywhere, I check Waze.  If routes look dicey, I know to leave earlier than planned.  Traveling south, I often have ten different ways to get somewhere.  There might be an accident on my regular route, but if I take this freeway, then that one, then another, I’ll continually move, get there smoothly, and without stress.

Traffic has already shortened my life but that needn’t continue.  I’m letting Waze lead the way, around bottlenecks on surface streets, around parking lots on highways.  I let it change my course when it sees trouble ahead.  More than once, I’ve been known to get off the road, go around the accident or mattress in the fast lane, and get to a game before anyone else.  Why?  I use Waze and they don’t, or didn’t.  I’m making converts rapidly.

Consider this one among many tips we need to share with each other to reduce stress.  Pretty soon someone might say, “You seem so relaxed.  What’s your secret?”  Start with Waze.

Other than red wine or chocolate at 5pm (or both), what’s your trick to lowering your heart rate so you don’t eat your children?

Word of advice: Waze is a battery drainer.  Plug it in to a charger when you’re driving long distances, and turn it off as soon as you’re where you want to be.

Fun times: you can customize the voice (her name is Samantha, she sounds like Siri) and hear comedian Kevin Hart give you directions instead.  Update the app on your mobile phone, then go to Settings>Sound>Voice Language and choose “English – Ride Along“.  That’s Hart’s upcoming movie.  Mix it up and make him your navigator.

 

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