Why Dads Love Waze: A Formal Investigation
There’s a stereotype that dads hate to admit they don’t know where they’re going. But we’re gonna go ahead and challenge that because … they love Waze. They report hazards, remind their kids to “Waze it” before leaving the house, and switch up the voices that guide them. When they show up to events slightly early, they pull out their phones and show off how Waze routed them around traffic or where they reported a speed trap. The question is…why?
In honor of Father’s Day, we hired an investigative team (OK, our creative director suggested it and we all just had to go along with it) to get to the bottom of the mystery that’s been on our minds ever since we saw this iconic tweet:
Below are some of our favorite theories, provided by real-life dads themselves with some help from their families.
Reporting in Waze feels like a game dads want to win
We’re still waiting on the final numbers, but our initial research indicates that dads are responsible for a lot of the live reporting on the Waze map. Why? They simply love the game.
A native Floridian, Jake sheds some light on why his dad Rob loves Waze. “My dad likes how it’s gamified,” he explains. “He likes being the one to report something or say something is inaccurate. When I used Waze back when I was driving, I never reported stuff. I was just kind of lurking. But he proactively reports or makes comments on traffic jams.”
“We were on a long drive down to Florida, and I found myself constantly wondering if what I saw on Waze was actually happening as I approached that spot on the road,” says Sean, a dad who recently moved from Chicago to Florida. “My wife and I were like a team. She’d hold the phone and tell me what was going on. It felt like a game.”
Waze + dads = ultimate insiders
Terms like “dad joke,” “dad bod,” and “dad ‘fit” all leave us with the unfounded idea that dads aren’t cool. Let’s get one thing straight: there’s nothing uncool about dads, and their street smarts prove it. Jake and his dad Rob weigh in on a theory that Waze gives dads bragging rights and boosts their hip factor by offering an inside scoop.
“If my buddies have trouble getting somewhere, I’ll ask which map system they used and tell them I use Waze,” Rob says. “I always feel like I beat the system.”
Jake backs him on this. “My dad’s pretty tech-savvy,” he says. “He feels like an insider when he uses Waze, like he has information other people don’t. He loves bringing it up at dinner with some other dad who hasn’t tried it. I remember him talking to my uncle and he was like, ‘Bro, you’ve gotta get Waze.’ You could tell he thought he was very cool.”
Sean agrees that it all comes down to being in the know. “There’s nothing like sitting in a half-hour delay, and then when it finally speeds up, you don’t even see what was causing the traffic. You get no reward for suffering through traffic,” he says. “With Waze, knowledge is the reward. Instead of just suggesting a new route, Waze shows you the details, so you know exactly what’s happening before you get off the highway and start taking side roads.”
Asking for directions without asking for directions
Remember when drivers carried physical maps with them to find their way? When we got lost, we had two options: ask a stranger for directions, or follow our instincts and hope for the best. Waze offers a welcome third option.
“My dad will ask for directions if he absolutely has to,” Jake says, “but Waze gives him a way out of that.”
Lou, a dad from New Jersey, is in the same boat. “I’m definitely in that camp where I’d get lost before asking for directions, but you really don’t have to anymore. Even when I think Waze is taking me the wrong way, I’ve learned to just trust it and it usually turns out to be right on the money.”
For Arun, a dad from Philadelphia, it helps him navigate one of his self-proclaimed biggest weaknesses: “I’m geographically impaired,” he confesses. “I can never remember how to get anywhere, so Waze has been a major improvement in my life.”
Best app for travel hacks
Dads know how to travel. Choosing a destination, packing a car, and timing the trip right take a certain amount of practice, patience and prep that dads seem to have in spades. Our next theory suggests dads are constantly on the hunt for new travel hacks, and Waze is the perfect companion to help take their travel skills to the next level.
When Shawn, a defense contractor from Florida, travels for work, he says Waze’s real-time ETA is always the most accurate — but that doesn’t stop him from trying to make even better time. “Beating your time is the best feeling in the world,” he says. “I drive through a lot of back roads where the speed limit is actually higher than you’d imagine, so I always shave off a little time there.”
Philadelphia-based dad Byron doesn’t just use Waze to save time. When he travels, he uses it to save some cash by avoiding toll roads. “When you rent a car, they will often charge you daily for the tolls, even if you only use a toll road once. So, I always make sure to turn off toll roads when I travel.”
Dads just want to know their kids are safe
OK, this last theory is admittedly less of a theory and more of an objective fact. If there’s one thing dads prioritize, it’s the safety of their kids and knowing where they are. Especially once they start driving.
For Sean, it’s knowing his daughter isn’t alone on the road and can see what’s coming up ahead when she uses Waze. “Seeing the little cars on the map and knowing each one is a user gives this sense of community,” he says. “Everything is live and active, so no matter what happens, I know she’s getting all the immediate details on her route.”
“Maybe I’ve got a bit of a soft center, but I’ve always liked being able to share my journey with my wife and children,” says Chris, a dad and motorcyclist from the UK. “Obviously, they’re all Waze fanatics as well. They share their drives and what time they’re coming home so we can have a cup of tea on and maybe a cake or some toast ready to welcome them back properly.”
Rob seconds his feelings. “My daughter shares her drives with me so we know about how far away she is from getting home,” he says. “That’s important to me as a dad.”
If you or your dad are hitting the road any time soon, start mapping out your trip in Waze.