When to Report
- (Note: once complete this will be merged with How_to_Report into a general Report article.)
Waze's report function is a crucial part of the user experience. Users' reports assist other drivers and may help route them around traffic or closed roads. Reporting illegal turns or missing roads alerts editors to problems that need to be fixed in order to optimize routing.
It's particularly important to refrain from reporting when reports are not justified. Excessively posting alerts to other motorists only creates noise, lessening the impact of valid road reports. Reporting app issues and complaints as map problems sends a request to map editors who typically will not be able to offer assistance.
Below are some guidelines for effective reporting. Be sure to check if your local Waze community has its own standards.
When to post a report
Report a traffic jam when traffic is particularly slow for that road. When you are stopped away from a normal stopping point, Waze may prompt you "Are you in traffic?" If you do not expect to be moving at a normal speed soon, tap "yes" and pick the appropriate situation (moderate, heavy, or standstill). However, if Waze prompts you when you are stopped at a stoplight, tap "no" to dismiss the question.
If Waze asks if you are stopped in traffic after you've left your car, then please tap "no" and exit the app. Users leaving Waze running after they have parked are a source of many false traffic jams, which negatively impact routing. It is important to shut Waze down when you are not driving to avoid this.
Report any stationary police vehicle. Some users appreciate these reports as reminders to watch their speed; others want to be alert to any activity on the side of the road so they can move over a lane for safety—in many jurisdictions, moving over is required by law.
Please refrain from reporting police cars in motion. Such reports are not helpful because, obviously, the officer will not be at the location of the report by the time it appears in the app.
Report any accident that is likely to disrupt traffic. This includes vehicles in traffic lanes, or vehicles on the shoulder where police, emergency, or assistance vehicles and personnel may be operating. If you are on a dual carriageway and the accident occurred in the opposing lanes, only report it if it is causing drivers heading your direction to slow down (i.e., a gapers' block, rubbernecking).
A hazard on the road would be found at least partially in one or more of the road's normal travel lanes, except for construction (see below).
- Object on road: Report objects that are large or mobile, or otherwise likely to cause drivers to slow down abruptly or swerve.
- Construction: Report construction activity if it is likely to impact driving, such as a construction zone with a lower speed limit, or an active worksite with workers and equipment moving around. Construction occurring on the shoulder may be reported as on the road if it impacts travel, since there is no option to report it on the shoulder.
- Pothole: Report large potholes that may cause vehicle damage or swerving traffic.
- Roadkill: Report large animals in the travel lanes. It is not necessary or helpful to report dead animals outside of the travel lanes, since dead animals have already created their road hazard and are unlikely to strike again.
- Oil spill: Report oil that has made the surface of at least one travel lane slick.
A hazard on the shoulder would be located beyond the road's normal travel lanes, but likely to cause concern for drivers on the road.
- Vehicle Stopped: Report vehicles only if at least one of the following is true:
- people are in or near them
- flashers are on
- the vehicle is at least partially in a travel lane
- Abandoned vehicles safely out of the way of traffic do not pose a hazard and should not be reported.
- Animals: Report animals only if they are likely to pose a hazard. Do not report small or dead animals, or animals behind an enclosure.
- Missing sign: Report missing signs whose absence poses a driving hazard, such as stop signs or do not enter signs. Please report these to the local authorities as well, since Waze does not relay this information to them automatically.
In general, weather events do not need to be reported. If weather conditions are not changing rapidly, avoid posting a weather report. Other apps are much more effective at gathering and disseminating general weather information.
- Fog: Report thick fog that limits visibility to 100 m or less. Only report this where the fog is significantly worse than other places nearby.
- Hail: Hail storms typically affect a small area for only a few minutes, so almost anyone who sees a hail report will encounter it after the storm has passed. If you encounter hail that impacts driving--slowing traffic or causing cars to pull over--report it if you choose.
- Rain: Only report rain that meets all of the following criteria:
- develops or intensifies suddenly
- causes traffic to slow down significantly
- is uncharacteristically heavy or intense for that area or during that season
- Do not post a report if rain has been falling steadily throughout the region for over half an hour. If you report rain, and then consider reporting rain again within 10 minutes, you should not be reporting it at all.
- Snow: Much like rain, snow only needs to be reported under unusual circumstances:
- intense snow showers or blizzard conditions that limit visibility
- blowing snow that makes untreated surfaces slippery and unpredictable
- snow that causes traffic to slow down abruptly
- Reporting snow is especially valuable in locations where snow is a rare occurrence, but even in such places over-reporting it diminishes the value of all reports.
- (add other voice recognition options?)
Remember that not everything that appears to be a camera is one of the types of cameras you report in Waze. Please be sure to review the article on cameras for more information on the correct cameras to report.
Keep it friendly and clean.
Reporting map issues is reserved for problems with the maps Waze uses to route users. Typical map issues are illegal turns, new roads, incorrectly named roads, and incorrect locations of destinations. Issues with the Waze app (such as unexplained closing or a feature that doesn't seem to work) or connectivity issues (such as failure to reach the routing server, or the map disappearing when you leave your provider's coverage area) are not map issues and should not be reported as such. The map editors who will get your reports cannot do anything about those issues.
For all map problems, keep in mind that the editors who solve the problems will be much more likely to successfully solve the problem if they have all the information necessary to do so. Editors are volunteer Waze users who do not have access to your origin or destination, and will only be able to see 1-2 km of your route. If you are reporting wrong driving directions, it would be useful for the editor to know what part of the route was wrong, and what a better route would be. If you are able to pull over safely after opening the report, please consider adding this information in the "describe map issue here..." field. If this is not possible, then please find your report on the map in the Waze Map Editor and add a comment to explain what should be examined or corrected.
Currently, Waze offers only a limited number of options for reporting map issues from the app:
- General map error: Use this when none of the other options fit your problem.
- Turn not allowed: Use this to report an intersection where a turn is explicitly prohibited. If the turn is allowed at some times and prohibited at others, it is helpful to identify the hours during which it is restricted.
- Incorrect junction: Use this to point out an intersection where the roads are misaligned, or where navigation instructions do not match reality.
- Missing bridge or overpass: Use this in situations where Waze incorrectly believes that roads intersect where they do not. Every bridge in Waze was created by an editor, and editors have not discovered all of them yet.
- Wrong driving directions: Use this when you perceive the navigation instructions you receive to be incorrect. If the directions take you out of the way, or if your destination is in the wrong place, an error likely occurred, and Waze needs to know so that other users are not also misdirected. Remember that, if you can do so safely, adding information to the report about your destination's name or address will make it easier for the editor to find and fix the problem.
- Missing exit: Use this when Waze shows roads intersecting at-grade when they should instead be connected with ramps. Please only report this when you are instructed to turn onto a road incorrectly. Because of the way Waze displays roads not on your route, some exits you may pass on a freeway may not appear in the display, even though they are present in the map.
- Missing road: Use this to report a road that Waze does not acknowledge, or places in the wrong location. Roads are added and moved constantly, and Waze manages to keep up with new construction mainly through user reports. If you believe that a road is missing, zoom in where it should be to verify that it is indeed not present on the map. At higher speeds (approximately 80 km/h or 50 mph) Waze simplifies the map display to show only major roads and, if you are navigating, the road you are on. Just because you can't see a road does not mean that Waze does not know about it.
After you post a map problem, watch your Waze inbox! A map editor will normally contact you within a few days to tell you the problem is fixed or to ask for more information. If you do not respond within a week, your report is likely to be closed with no action taken.
Waze offers an opportunity for users to add new roads when they encounter any not already on the map. Paving is especially helpful when the roads are so new that they are unlikely to appear in satellite imagery. However, if you choose to add roads with the pave feature, please keep the following in mind:
- Do not pave roads that do not belong on the map (see BMEP / link). This prohibition includes railroads, runways, walking trails, or anything else other than a road open to vehicular traffic.
- It will take a few days for the paved roads to appear in the editor.
- When the paved roads appear, it is the responsibility of the user who paved them to either finish them in the editor (name them, locate them in the correct city, adjust their geometry, and connect them to the existing network) OR alert a local area manager to the new roads and request that they be added. Until they are edited, Waze cannot use them for navigation.
Report roads that are closed to all vehicular traffic for a short period of time (typically less than a day). If you know that the road will be closed for several days or longer, report it as a map problem instead. Do not report a road as closed if only some lanes are closed, but at least one lane remains open. Report the closed lane as a hazard instead.
When to close someone else's report
Reports left by other users should be closed when whatever was reported is no longer present. As you approach a hazard or police, an alert will appear on the screen; simply press "not there" if it is gone. If you pass a reported hazard that does not meet the guidelines above, such as an abandoned car on the shoulder or an unnecessary weather report, please tap "not there" to clear it.
- (how long will a report remain if no one clears it? will a thumbs-up prolong the life of a report?)