Waze is sending California drivers toward fires

Waze is sending California drivers toward fires
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Google’s popular navigation app, Waze, is directing some drivers into neighborhoods where wildfires in Southern California have forced road closures, USA Today reported Thursday.

Waze's mission is to put users on less traveled routes to avoid traffic and get to their destinations faster. It collects data from drivers using the app to plan the best routes. When the app notices dense traffic from the data, it directs users toward roads that aren’t stuck in gridlock.

Roads that have been closed as a result of fires have no traffic on them, apparently making them attractive to Waze’s algorithms.

Waze says that it’s been working to correct the issue. A spokeswoman told USA Today that the app has been in contact with local authorities to correctly label which roads are off limits within several hours of their closure.

"We worked really hard Wednesday afternoon to get our maps up to date and accurate," Waze spokeswoman Chelsea Russo told the outlet.

USA Today’s own staff experienced Waze directing them toward roads closed from fires on Wednesday morning.

Users also took to social media to complain about Waze’s options.

“I don't trust Waze. It just told me I could save 8 minutes by driving right thru a wild fire off the 405 Freeway,” one user tweeted.