On June 17, 2016, Waze announced a new feature called “difficult intersections” which is supposed to help the company’s clients to avoid danger on the road. The company posted it on its blog stating that the new feature was already available in Los Angeles where they think driving can sometimes be dangerous and stressful.

There are a lot of factors that stress people behind the wheel; traffic, limited visibility, other drivers and so on. All these things are especially problematic when someone is trying to use an intersection. And the team from Waze is aware of this.

The app now calculates the best possible route and ETA with as few of them as possible. Credits: Engadget

Last Friday, the company activated a new feature on its app called “difficult intersections” to help their clients sort this kind of problem when possible. If a user sets a route that goes through a junction that is known to be particularly difficult to go through, the app will instead offer a new direction to ensure a safer and more relaxed ride.

However, if the secondary option takes the driver too far from the fastest route, it won’t suggest the detour. According to the company, the idea is to avoid as many of these crossings as possible when driving, not to eliminate them.

For example, if a person sets a route and on that route there is an intersection, Waze will analyze the map and offer a quick detour, but if the option takes too much time, the app won’t say anything to the driver. “Wazers” from Los Angeles are the first ones to have the new feature, and the company already has plans for New Orleans.

By now, people from Los Angeles have this option activated, and yet, if they want to ignore these suggestions, they can go to the settings and turn it off.

The most dangerous intersection is in Pennsylvania

To create the feature, Waze worked with the community and local employees to collect data on the crossings they considered to be the most problematic. With the use of digital maps, the made a list of intersections that people reported to be potentially dangerous, and then, they uploaded other possible routes to avoid so that drivers could avoid as many as possible. The company  said that eventually, the feature will be available for every Wazer around the world.

According to TIME, many factors could make a junction unsafe, elements like poor signage, lack of lightning, incomplete sidewalks, reckless drivers, and jaywalkers. Using these things as a guide, they deduced that the most dangerous intersection in the United States is Bensalem, PA, where Knights Road crosses Street Road in Pennsylvania.

Official authorities reported 144 crashes involving 170 people between injured and dead from 2006 to 2008. According to Joseph Fiocco, a traffic engineer who helped gather these numbers, the transit volume is the highest factor of risk, which means, a number of accidents will be tightly related to the number of people using the crossing including pedestrians.

Source: Waze Blog