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SPECIAL REPORT: Steer clear of traffic woes

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Time might be the most valuable thing we have, and a tool in your pocket might be able to put more time back into the things you love and less time into the travel to get there.

Navigation apps for smartphones help their users get from place to place effectively and quickly. The apps can show you the fastest route and when traffic is blocking your path. But, are all apps created equal?

Newschannel 3 decided to put some apps to the test. What we found is that better apps will save you time and headache.

The two highest-rated phone navigation apps are Google Maps and Waze. Another popular option is Apple’s own Maps app which comes on the iPhone. Chris Sligh, an Uber and Lyft driver in Kalamazoo, uses all three for different reasons.

“I really think it’s a matter of preference,” Sligh said. “I haven’t had any totally take me down the wrong way.”

Sligh drives for the two companies to make extra money. He said driving efficiently is important because his customers rate his performance. A high rating means more customers will likely select him.

“I like Waze probably the best,” Sligh said. “Waze gives you kind of live information as far as if there’s a traffic accident or if there is heavy traffic somewhere. I use Google as well. Those give kind of better instructions. So, if I'm in an area of town I don't really know that well, it kind of gives you an advance of hey, coming up turn right or look for this street. Things like that. Waze is kind of points where you need to go and then you go. I'd still probably put Waze first because you're getting live information. And, then I'd put Google and probably Apple in that order."

Newschannel 3 tested the three apps against each other to weigh their performance. Google Maps and Waze both tested with similar drive times. With Apple’s Maps, however, there were some inaccuracies in the address locator.

For a more-detailed comparison of the apps see our web exclusive: Putting navigation apps to the test.


Follow Jason Puhr on Twitter and Facebook.

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