Can I Use Google Maps Traffic Information to Estimate Driving Time for a Specific Date & Time?

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Happy Wayfarer is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

It’s 2023. You can use your phone for virtually anything. From checking your heart rate to learning new languages, we now live in a world where everything is possible at the single click of a button. Predicting the traffic is a necessary yet luxurious benefit offered by arguably the best map application out there, Google Maps. 

Loaded with different features that enhance the overall user experience, this application has been designed to offer numerous benefits, many of which people don’t often realize exist. There are many things you can do using Google Maps, and checking on the traffic is just one of them. Through this article, let us explore how you can check the traffic for a specific time or date if you can set Google Maps for a specific time, and so on.

How do I check real-time traffic on Google Maps?

Checking traffic details on Google Maps is pretty easy, and you can do so in a simple few steps. In the application, select ‘Traffic.’ Within this option, you will see the option called ‘Live Traffic’ (by default, it should be selected as ‘Live Traffic.’

By clicking on this, you will be able to visualize the live traffic in the travel route that you need. You will note that different color indicators depict the nature of traffic along the route.

Green indicates that the traffic is generally clear, yellow indicates slow-moving traffic that can cause delays to your travel plans, and worst of all is red that depicts heavy congestion in traffic. 

Using these predictions and real-time indicators, you can plan your trip routes accordingly. Checking real-time traffic is advised if you have already started your trip and are en route, and wish to avoid unnecessary delays caused by heavy traffic.

Can I use Google Maps traffic information to estimate driving time for a specific date/time?

Yes! You can plan your weekend road trip with much ease now. You can use Google Maps’ Traffic feature to predict the traffic conditions in a particular route using the ‘Typical Traffic’ feature you will see. 

The option is set by default to ‘Live Traffic.’ You can use this innovative feature to query the route for any particular destination you have in mind. Moreover, you can select the specific time of departure and arrival.

If you are looking for traffic conditions for the latter, Google Maps provides you with pretty good advice on when to leave, so you reach within the stipulated time. Of course, you will not be predicted with a spot on time such as 46 minutes precisely. It is an estimated range of times by which you can expect to fulfill the journey. Here is a step by step guide of how you can do this:

  • Open the Google Maps Application 
  • Using the search feature, search for your destination or pin the location on the map. 
  • On the lower part of the screen, you will see ‘Directions.’ Click on it. Select ‘Driving’ as your mode of transport (upper part of the screen).
  • Select the ‘Typical Traffic’ option to view the general traffic conditions in the area. 

How does Google Maps show real-time traffic?

It is quite amazing how an application on your phone can tell you about the present traffic conditions miles away. It almost makes you wonder if a smartphone can be that smart. Well, through meticulous planning and implementation of all the right tools, Google Maps has rendered this feat very possible. 

Not only does Google show real-time traffic, but it is also able to predict the date and time-specific traffic conditions with much ease! So how exactly does it do that?

Google Maps relies on two methods to procure the data that it needs to present you with live and predictive traffic information. First is the historical data that continuously gets stored and processed into the servers regarding the average time taken to travel along a specific route, at specific days and times. 

The second is the real-time data that is collected which is sent by the traffic sensors as well as smartphones, indicating the speed of traffic then and there. Earlier, Google used to solely depend on the traffic sensors for real-time traffic information, which, when stored, helps in the predictive analysis. 

Through crowdsourcing, the accuracy of this information has been improved significantly. When your Android phone is turned on to Google maps with location services enabled, this information is anonymously sent back to Google. 

The information that is received from multiple vehicles is then combined to analyze the traffic conditions. 

Is Google Maps accurate on driving time?

If you use the word accurate in a broad sense, then we can say that it is fairly accurate to a point where 70% of the time, you will reach within the predicted time range. If you are looking for an exact, to-the-minute time of arrival by driving, you will be quite disappointed. 

It is best to allow yourself an additional 30-35% time when you are planning a drive, especially if you are particular about the time of arrival. While you will have an estimated idea about what to expect from the traffic conditions on your route, it is best to plan your journey such that you leave yourself enough buffer time. 

What you need to realize is that there is only so much AI can account for, and even though the analysis is done using tonnes of data, predictions cannot always be on point and account for every single real-time delay. 

Moreover, several other factors come into play when you account for the driving time down a route. Your best bet would be to refer to multiple driving estimation applications and planning your journey out using an average of all of them.


Which is better for navigation while driving: Google Maps or Waze?

Both belong to the same parent company- Google, but Waze is more specifically built for use by motorbike and car users. They both are available on all platforms and compatible with most devices. 

When it comes to navigation, they both show differences. If you consider Google maps, it is your typical navigation application that does its job of getting you to the final destination using any means of navigation- by foot, air, water, bus, rail, and what not. Google Maps does have extra features of traffic prediction, and it alerts you of real-time obstacles en route. It can redirect you using a reliable path that might get you to your destination within a reasonable time. 

Waze has been built specifically to aid motorbike and car users to get to the destination in the quickest possible time. It does not show you the quickest route and leaves you to it afterward. 

Instead, it works with you continuously to keep analyzing different conditions, obstacles, and many other factors to ensure that you get to the destination in the fastest possible manner. 

So essentially, the difference is that while Google Maps will help you by showing you the traffic conditions and advising you to avoid the route, Waze does something about it. 

The directions keep changing by themselves, and you will be sent down the best path deemed possible by the app to get you ahead of the obstacles. 

Does Google Maps travel time include stops?

The Google Maps’ travel time predictions are based on prescribed speed limits, traffic sensors, and real-time data, which is why you are presented with a range of estimated time. This estimated time, however, does not account for stops for personal needs such as fuel, restrooms, and so on. 

Unfortunately, delays due to weather also are not taken into consideration. However, you can easily add stops on Google maps on your route to reach the final destination. When you are planning your trip, you can add any stop you wish on the way, and you can do so up to nine stops between your starting and ending point. 

You can do this on the desktop as well as the mobile version. All you need to do is click on the plus symbol and add different stops before selecting your final destination. The travel time will be adjusted accordingly, taking into account all of your stops. You can also re-order the stops by dragging the points. 

Google Maps is a diverse and brilliant mobile and web application that offers excellent features that facilitate smooth travel across destinations. 

If you use it right, you can plan a safe and fun road trip easily with no worry of getting to places late or being faced with unexpected roadblocks or traffic. 

However, it does not make sense to depend on an application completely and be disappointed later. If you are planning a trip, driving is the best option- pandemic and all; you can use Google Maps as an effective planning tool to ensure that you have a smooth drive onwards and backward. 

Do your research, though, and have a safe trip!

Author - Willa Carson
Happywayfarer author Willa Carson
Hi, I'm Willa Carson, a passionate traveler who has been exploring the world for 7 years. Whether it's trekking through the Himalayas, exploring ancient ruins in South America, or simply savoring a cup of coffee at a local cafe, I believe that travel has the power to enrich our lives in countless ways. So join me on my journey and let's discover the world together!
Read more about me here.

Leave a Comment