For people traveling through states accustomed to dealing with harsh winter weather, there are probably satisfactory systems in place for clearing heaps of snow from the roads practically as soon as they form—but that’s your best-case scenario. Storms can hit with an unanticipated vengeance, leaving even the most well-prepared places with many dangerous or even fully blocked roads.
To keep you from having to risk unplowed and icy roads on the way home for the holidays, Waze collaborated with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to develop a feature that helps you avoid them.
According to a VDOT press release, the new option works much like Waze’s other features: Users report when they encounter an icy or unplowed area, and Waze will then warn other drivers when they’re approaching that same area, giving them the option to choose a different route. Simplemost reports that upon nearing an unplowed road, you’ll see a snowflake icon next to the words Unplowed Road.
Waze first tested the program in Virginia and has now made it available to all of their 130 million users—just make sure you’re using the most updated version of the Waze app.
The endeavor began as part of the Waze for Cities program, in which Waze shares its user data with partnering cities in order to help public workers determine how best to decrease traffic and increase safety measures.
“Our work with the Virginia Department of Transportation on the development of the ‘Unplowed Road’ feature perfectly exemplifies what can be accomplished when we collaborate with public sector partners to meet community needs,” Dani Simons, head of public sector partnerships at Waze, said in the press release.
Waze isn’t the only way to practice responsibly driving this season; here are five other tips for staying safe on winter roads.