Want to avoid traffic? Use Waze or Google Maps

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Both Waze and Google Maps can give you turn-by-turn voice-directed navigation. Waze also adds real-time crowd-sourced road information including traffic, road hazards and police locations. I’ve had people tell me that they prefer Waze to Google Maps because Waze gives information about traffic.

Hey! So does Google Maps.

When Google Maps is navigating, it automatically shows traffic slowdowns along your route: yellow means a noticeable amount of traffic, red means delays caused by traffic.

Google Maps has Lane Guidance

I prefer Google Maps to Waze for many reasons, but lane guidance is probably the most important. When I’m coming up on a turn, I will hear Waze voice saying, “In a quarter mile turn left.” Google Maps will say, “In a quarter mile use the left two lanes to turn left onto the Northbound I-95 ramp.” If you need to be in the middle lane, or the lane that is second from the right, it will tell you that as well.  

Turn on Traffic Layer

Using Google Maps, if you want to see traffic on the roads without navigating, you can turn on the traffic layer. Just tap the layer button in the upper right of the map, then choose Traffic from the choices. Be aware that traffic information uses more data. That’s why you have the option to have it on or off.

Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She and her husband, Jim, produce a free weekly YouTube show called What Does This Button Do?  They have been Fulltime RVers, popular seminar presenters at RV Rallies, and regular contributors to RVTravel.com, for many years. 

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Tommy Molnar
1 year ago

The issue I have with Waze is, no other app will burn up your battery faster. None. If you can’t plug your phone in, watch the battery power decrease by the mile.

Otherwise, it’s pretty cool.

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Mike Sokol (@mike)
1 year ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

I use WAZE all the time, and yes it is a battery hog. But I like the interaction of knowing about stopped vehicles, traffic updates, road hazards such as potholes, and the ability to forward arrival times to anyone waiting at my destination. However, it seems to be terrible at finding local food and gas stations. For example, I just want to find the next fast food place on my interstate drive. It’s telling me the next one is 173 miles away, when I can see a road sign showing half a dozen major FF burger joints in the next 3 miles. Nothing I do seems to fix this, so I pull up Google Maps to look for food in the area. Am I doing something wrong? Have I missed some setting on the profile?

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol

Mike, nothing beats the old eyes for finding food on the road. Even on I-80 in the middle of Nevada, it isn’t far between exit signs hawking “The Colonel”, DQ, Mickey D, or a mini mart with gas and gizzards . . .

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Mike Sokol (@mike)
1 year ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

So true. But many times I’m doing a marathon drive across the country, sometimes driving 800 or more miles a day solo from the east to west coasts. I like to be able to see if there’s a place to eat maybe 50 or 100 miles ahead so I can coordinate food and fuel at the same time. Yes, this is opposite of what many RVers do, but when I’m in business/seminar mode I’m not getting paid for my time on the road, only time while doing training. However, since I’m now in “soft retirement” I’ll be able to take a few extra days on my long trips, so I can slow down, see a few sights, and smell the roses (as it were). And you are correct that I really do love to find the local food joints that rarely show up as a POI (point of interest) on a GPS. This summer will be a big change in how I usually do my seminars (sometimes driving 50,000 miles and flying 100,000 miles a year). Time to slow down and have some fun on the road.