How To Check for Traffic in Google Maps

Google Maps is great for lots of things. You can get directions, explore different countries or landmarks, take a look at a new area with street view, advertise your business and even find out what the traffic will be like on your way to or from work. This tutorial will walk you through checking for traffic in Google Maps on desktop and on your phone.

I am always on Google Maps. I like visiting places like the Pyramids, Versailles, foreign cities and other interesting places. I place the little yellow man somewhere and follow the streets wherever they lead and generally explore places I have yet to visit or will never visit.

Of course, that isn’t the only thing Google Maps is good for. It is also great for navigation. I am surprised it or Waze hasn’t replaced Tom Tom or car satnavs altogether by now. Competition is always good though!

Checking traffic in Google Maps

Before some recent updates, checking the traffic used to be a bit of a pain. Now traffic has been placed front and center on the map view and offers lots of details about the traffic conditions on your route. It will also show road closures and offer a colored guide to traffic levels in a given area.

Traffic has taken a much higher priority in Google Maps and that’s for the better.

To check traffic using desktop Google Maps:

  1. Open up Google Maps and navigate to your location.
  2. Select the traffic option on the left menu. You can optionally add your start point and destination in the sidebar by selecting ‘traffic’.

You will see detailed traffic analysis of the current time and place on the main map view. There is a color legend at the bottom, but essentially, green roads are okay for traffic while orange and red show congestion or heavy traffic. If you set a start and destination, your route options will also show these colors to give you an idea of what to expect.

Check traffic on Android Google Maps:

  1. Open up Google Maps and let the map zoom to your location.
  2. Select the blue position icon on the right.
  3. Select the car icon at the top.
  4. Select See Traffic In Your Area.
  5. Let the map load and it will show you similar details to the desktop version.

You can also set your start point and destination to see what the current traffic situation is and any road closures happening right now.

Those two options show you the current traffic situation for your chosen route or area. You can also change the time to show what the traffic is likely to be at a given time.


Check future traffic with Google Maps

This feature is ideal for planning a trip you know will leave at a certain time. If you’re not planning to leave for a little while, you can specify a travel time and Google Maps will do its best to forecast what the traffic will be like. This is a prediction so it won’t be exactly right but does seem to be fairly accurate.

On desktop:

  1. Set a start point and destination in Google Maps
  2. Select Leave Now in the blue part of the left menu and select Depart at to set a leave time or Arrive by to set a desired arrival time.
  3. Allow the map to update.

In Android:

  1. Set a start point and destination in the Google Maps app.
  2. Select the three dot menu icon at the top and select Set Depart & Arrival Time.
  3. Set your time and allow the map to update.

This feature is also available on iOS but you select ‘Set Reminder to Leave’ instead for the prediction.

Just remember, Google Maps is predicting traffic from past behavior and cannot predict accidents, road closures or the usual unforeseen things we see on our commute. Allow the map to update itself during your journey so you are alerted to any changes in your route. You can then get the app to take a detour or work around any serious delays.

Send directions from Google Maps desktop to your phone

Did you know you can plan a route on your desktop and then have Google send it to your phone? As long as you are signed into Google on your phone, you can plan your route on the desktop and then have it beamed to your phone as if by magic. It’s a very neat feature that lets you plan it on the big screen and then use it on the portable one.

  1. Plan your route in Google Maps on your desktop.
  2. Select ‘Send directions to your phone’ from the left menu.
  3. Wait a little while for it to appear on your phone.

You should receive a notification on your phone when the route arrives and it should come up when you open the Maps app. Cool huh?

One thought on “How To Check for Traffic in Google Maps”

Avatar William Koehl says:
turn on traffic display in google maps:
Click on the sign in the upper right hand corner for the drop down.
It is a diamond with a down arrow below it. I have no idea what it is called.

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