Google may own Waze, but we’re finally seeing some of the features popularized by this transit tracking app find their way to Apple Maps. For example, you can now or soon report traffic accidents on maps while you are traveling. Speed traps, too, in case you discover a drive through one of those terrible small towns that is cutting the speed limit from 70 mph to 30 mph in the hopes that they can pull some sweet revenue from your road trip fund.
I say “soon” because you can find these features in iOS 14.5, which is not available to the public as a beta test or full version, but you can Sign up for the developer beta to try these (and other) features out now. As always, the usual restrictions apply: developer betas are not guaranteed to be stable. So make sure you’ve backed up your phone, back up your data consistently, and know some simple tricks (such as turning your iPhone off and on) to try in case you run into problems.
Once you’ve installed the developer beta, open it Apple Maps and enter a destination. Start your directions and begin your journey. If you encounter a vehicle accident or speed trap on the route, report it by tapping the pull-up menu at the bottom of the screen, which usually tells you where you are going and how long it will be to get there.
Among the various options, including the always useful “Share ETA” You will see a new one “Report” Button.
Screenshot: David Murphy
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Tap it and you can report one of three problems: an accident, a road hazard, or a speed check.
Screenshot: David Murphy
I should note that you don’t actually have to knock if you don’t want to. This reporting feature works with Siri. So if you say, “Siri, there is an accident ahead of you” while driving, for example, your digital assistant will trigger a report on your behalf. It’s much safer than messing around with your iPhone while everyone else is rubbernecking.
It’s unclear what actually causes these reports to appear on Apple Maps themselves. I am assuming that several people will need to create a report in order for it to appear in any way along your route. The few reports I’ve made so far haven’t done anything – not even creating an icon on my own itineraries – which I think makes sense. What use is an accident report after you’ve already gone through it?
There’s also the fact that this feature is still in beta so it’s unclear how the final presentation will be implemented in iOS 14.5. Regardless, you will find it that way as soon as it becomes available to you. Get ready to shoot down reports to help fellow travelers make their trips more efficient (once we all start actually traveling again).