Avoid traffic and help others do the same without texting and driving.

By Andrea Romano
May 05, 2021
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Apple Maps up on an iPhone on top of a highway in California
Credit: iPhone: Courtesy of Apple; Image: Lena Wagner/Getty Images

There are a few things in the world that drivers universally hate. And one of them is gridlock traffic that could have been avoided.

Unfortunately, knowing whether you're going to run into traffic hazards, accidents, or speed checks can be difficult if you're already on the road. While some GPS apps can do this, it's not always perfect –– especially if you want to report a traffic hazard while you're driving.

Now, Apple users can do this with relative ease thanks to a new update to iOS 14.5. This new feature allows users to warn other drivers on the road of these impediments using Siri on their phone or with CarPlay. Not only is it a good way to help your fellow humans, but it also makes it easier to avoid traffic problems.

To report hazards, you can simply say a phrase, such as, "Hey Siri, there's something on the road," and Apple Maps will display the hazard for all users. Apple Maps has been updated several times during the pandemic as well, including updates that allow users to see COVID-19 vaccination sites and travel information at their local airport.

In addition, cyclists in Seattle and all of California can now get directions along bike paths, bike lanes, and bike-friendly routes. Users can also share their estimated time of arrival when using cycling or walking directions to keep friends in the loop. This feature has previously only been available for drivers.

The iOS 14.5 update also includes new, LGBTQ-inclusive emoji, better privacy controls, a new Siri feature with which you can choose different voices, the ability to unlock your phone using your Apple Watch, redesigned apps, improvements to the 5G network, and more.

For more information about the update, visit the Apple website.

Andrea Romano is a freelance writer in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @theandrearomano.