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The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Waze mapps app

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Key Points

  • Waze is a popular navigation app that provides real-time traffic updates and suggests preferred routes.
  • Waze incorporates a legend of symbols and icons to help identify traffic alerts and important locations.
  • The symbols and icons on Waze include GPS tracker, compass, navigation lanes, speed limit, railroad track, traffic camera, interstates, highways, and routes.
  • Waze also uses symbols and icons to indicate road closures, hazards, accidents, stopped cars, police presence, and recreational locations like gas stations, food, parking, grocery stores, coffee shops, and more.
  • Waze is a community-based app that relies on user contributions for traffic reports and alerts.

Paper maps are a thing of the past. These days, with smartphone technology, people are more likely to use some kind of map software to find their way.

Much like Google Maps, Waze is a popular navigation app that shares real-time traffic updates and suggests preferred routes to get from Point A to Point B. Waze is available to download on iOS or Android devices. Users can report accidents, confirm traffic stops, and provide traffic advisories to help fellow drivers on the road.

And like any other map, Waze incorporates a legend of symbols and icons to help identify traffic alerts and important locations, like hospitals and gas stations.

Keep reading to learn more about the symbols and icons on Waze and what they mean. 

Waze Map Driving Symbols

Waze features a digital map of your surrounding area that updates as you travel using GPS. As you drive, you’ll notice different icons and symbols pop up that represent landmarks, parks, businesses, and other locations. 

GPS Tracker

As you use the Waze app and travel in real-time, a blue triangle will move as you do on the map. This only appears in your view of your map. Other Wazers will see your profile icon on their view of their map.

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Compass

The compass symbol is always present on the map display, usually in the top corner of the screen. As you drive, the compass will rotate to display the direction you’re heading in. If you ever want to revert back to a north-facing display of the map, you just tap the compass and the map will reconfigure itself. 

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Navigation Lanes

While driving, you’ll occasionally see a bar at the top of your screen with navigational symbols. This can include what lane to be in, turning directions, and upcoming exits. This is helpful as you don’t want to take your eyes off the road for more than a few seconds. Familiarize yourself with the navigation symbols to make it easier to use the app while driving.

Speed Limit

The speed limit icon varies, depending on the circumstances. If traffic is heavy and the speed limit has significantly slowed, a red speed limit icon will appear. Slow traffic is indicated by an orange color speed limit icon

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Railroad Track

The railroad symbol is represented by a railroad crossing sign with a red light. There isn’t an icon to notify Waze users if a train is currently passing through the railroad crossing. It’s best to use precaution whenever approaching a railroad crossing. 

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Traffic Camera

The traffic camera symbol is an image of a stoplight next to a camera. Red light traffic cameras monitor speeding vehicles and capture images of cars passing through the intersection on a red light. 

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Interstates, Highways, and Routes

Interstates are identified with blue and red road signs with the appropriate interstate number. Highways and routes are indicated by black and white signs with the corresponding highway number. 

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Waze Road and Driving Symbols and Icons

When you’re on the road, traffic can change at any moment. Thanks to users in the Waze community who update alerts as they happen, drivers can make more informed decisions while driving. The road symbols and icons give you a quick at-a-glance way of seeing where there’s traffic, what roads to avoid, and how to plan your route. 

Traffic Jam

The heavy traffic symbol is an image of three cars lined up behind each other. These symbols indicate what the current traffic is like.

Heavy traffic is represented by a red line through that specific section of the road. You’ll also see a small speed limit symbol appear that indicates a slower speed limit. A clear route won’t have any symbols or icons, meaning that is the best route to take. 

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Road Closure 

The road closure icon is a red and white rope across two posts. Whenever a road or lane is closed, a small icon will appear to indicate road closure. This could be due to an accident or construction work. 

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Hazards 

The hazards icon is represented by an orange triangle with a black exclamation point. This is used if there is any kind of hazard on the road. That could include objects on the road, an abandoned vehicle, or accidents that require caution when approaching. 

Accident 

The car accident icon is of two cars colliding with each other. If there is an accident on the road, users should use this icon to indicate the situation. This will help other drivers use precaution as they approach the scene or help divert them to other routes. 

Car Stopped

If a car is stopped anywhere on the road or in shoulder lanes, an icon of an orange car tipped to one side will appear. Stopped cars could be someone who has a flat tire, an abandoned vehicle, or anyone with their emergency lights on. This could also indicate that a tow truck is on the scene as well. 

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Police

If the police are present, an image of a police officer will pop up where they were spotted. 

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Waze Recreational Symbols and Icons

In addition to traffic-related symbols, Waze uses various icons to label recreational locations. This can include gas stations, hospitals, parks, and shopping centers. This is especially helpful for drivers traveling through a new or unfamiliar area.

If you tap on the icon, you can read more information about the location, such as nearby parking and phone number. 

Gas Station

The gas station symbol is an image of a gas pump. Wherever there is a gas station, a small icon will appear and display the current price. The cheapest gas prices are highlighted in green, moderately priced gas is in orange, and high gas prices are in red. 

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Food

The food symbol is an icon of a fork and knife. Food locations are typically restaurants or diners — locations that offer sit-down or pick-up service. 

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Parking

The parking symbol is a “P” in a blue circle. Parking lots identified on Waze are usually in public spaces, like shopping centers, grocery stores, or near parks. The app doesn’t identify where street parking is available. 

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Grocery Stores

The grocery store icon is a shopping cart. Stores and markets are marked by a grocery store symbol. This does not include local farmer’s markets that may frequently occur in your neighborhood. 

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Coffee

The coffee symbol is an icon of a coffee cup. These represent coffee shops and cafés in the area. There may be some variation of identified locations, such as tea houses, bakeries, or donut shops that also serve coffee.

You may also notice that some grocery stores are identified under the coffee icon. This is typical if a store has an attached coffee shop, like Starbucks. 

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Drive-Thru

The drive-thru icon is represented by a car in a drive-thru lane. What’s interesting about drive-thru locations is that they include fast food drive-thrus as well as some pick-up or delivery restaurants. Pharmacies with drive-thru windows like Walgreens or Rite-Aid may also be included. 

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Shopping

The shopping icon is a small storefront building. Shopping locations can include anything from a major shopping center, town square or village, marketplace, or neighborhood strip mall. 

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Pharmacies

The pharmacy symbol is an image of a pill. Waze users should note that when searching for pharmacies, the populated results will vary. Brick-and-mortar stores like Walgreens will be labeled with the pharmacy icon, along with grocery stores with attached pharmacies. Clinics and private doctors who prescribe medication can also show up in search results. 

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Charging Station

The charging station is represented by an electrical plug and battery. With more electric vehicles on the road, finding charging stations is important, especially if you’re driving long distances in unfamiliar areas. You’ll most likely find charging stations in parking lots of grocery stores, gas stations, or car dealerships.

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Hospitals and Medical Care

The hospital symbol is an “H” in a white circle. Like some of the other categories, Waze includes several different types of medical centers on its list. Major hospitals, clinics, and emergency medical care locations may appear. 

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Hotels and Lodging

The hotels and lodging icon is of a person lying in bed. Big chain hotels and local motels can appear in your search. You may also see RV parks and apartment complexes with vacancies under this category. You’ll need to click on individual icons to get a better idea of what type of lodging it offers.  

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Outdoor Parks

The outdoor park symbol is two small trees. Parks can include public parks, fields, and green spaces. Areas with natural wildlife preserves or wetlands may also appear when searching for parks. Occasionally, some hiking trails may also fall under the parks category.

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Waze Profile Symbols and Icons

Every Waze user is represented in the app with their own personal icon. This helps identify where fellow Wazers are in the area. The more you use Waze, the more features you’ll have to play around with. 

Profile Icon

Your profile icon varies depending on how often you use Waze, engage, and contribute reports and alerts. You can view your achievements under the Achievements section of your profile.

As you continue to use Waze, you’ll gain points and level up to different status icons:

  • Waze Baby: This Waze icon has a pacifier and is the default icon.
  • Waze Grown-Up: This is a plain Waze icon without any special features.
  • Waze Warrior: If you are in the top 10% of points in your region, you’ll be given a Waze icon with a shield.
  • Waze Knight: Users in the top 4% of users in their region will see an icon with a sword.
  • Waze Royalty: Wazers who score in the top 1% of their region will be granted a crown on their profile icon.
The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Waze Mood

Moods is a feature that allows users to express their “mood” in the app. If you have access to Special Moods, the icons vary and are often used for fun. For example, they can represent when you’re feeling sweet (a peppermint candy) or pumped (a smiling boombox). You can also select fun icons like a dog or cat.

If you’re curious or interested in the Moods feature, you’ll need to use Waze for at least 100 miles before gaining access. 

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Other Waze Symbols and Icons

Like many other apps, Waze encourages interactions between users. This often occurs on another user’s traffic report or alert. 

Comment

Waze allows users to add comments to traffic reports. This could be useful if you’re traveling past a report and want to provide an update on the situation, such as a stalled vehicle or slowed traffic. 

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Like

Users are able to “like” reports made by other Waze users. They can click the thumbs-up icon that appears when you tap on a specific traffic icon and like that individual report. “Liking” someone’s alert can indicate that the situation remains and that the report is still valid. 

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

Saved

Wazers can save locations in the app by tapping the flag icon labeled “Save.” Saving your favorite destinations makes it easy to pull up a route to get there instead of repeatedly searching each time you open the app. You can find a list of all your saved locations in one place in your profile. 

The Symbols and Icons on Waze: What Are They?

How Does the Waze App Work?

Waze is a community-based navigational app. This means it relies on users to contribute reports and alerts of road activity. The more you use Waze while you’re on the road, the more informed drivers will be of traffic updates and road conditions.

You’re also rewarded as you use the app. When you reach certain milestones and earn points, you’ll have more access to special features that add customization and personalization to your Waze experience.

The Waze app is also free, making it extremely easy to download and start using immediately. All you need is a smartphone and a mobile data plan to use this on-the-go. 

Who Should Use Waze?

Waze was designed primarily for drivers in vehicles or on motorcycles — basically, anyone who uses major roadways. Bicyclists can also make use of traffic updates, but using a phone while on a bike can be difficult and dangerous. It doesn’t hurt to still download the app, considering that it’s free. Even pedestrians can use traffic updates to know what roads may be closed or off-limits due to traffic or road closures. 

Is Waze the Right Navigation App for You?

Compared to other navigation apps, Waze offers robust and comprehensive software that provides in-the-moment traffic updates.

The fact that it is a community-based app encourages users to engage and participate within the app. The great thing is that people do engage! The app wouldn’t function without users consistently contributing alerts.

Although Waze caters to drivers and doesn’t provide much for cyclists or pedestrians, it still shares real-time road and traffic information that everyone can benefit from.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should use the Waze app?

Waze is a great option for people interested in real-time traffic updates. It was designed for drivers on the road, but pedestrians and cyclists may also find the traffic updates beneficial to them.

How much does Waze cost?

The Waze app is free to download and use.

How does Waze work?

Waze relies on the community of Waze users to contribute traffic reports and alerts. The more users engage and participate, the more information becomes available for other drivers.

What is the difference between Waze and Google Maps?

Waze focuses on vehicle transportation, such as trucks, cars, and motorcycles. Google Maps offers a variety of transportation methods that also include public transportation and pedestrian routes.

Is Waze better than Google Maps?

Waze is popular among its users who like the customization and voice prompts in the app. Google Maps offers more accurate traffic information but lacks the same level of customization as Waze.

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