It’s probably the most significant sat nav development since maps appeared on-screen. And when delays strike, it could ensure you get to work on time. What is it? Live traffic information on your sat nav.
Depending on the whims of the traffic, my drive to work takes 25 minutes on a good day and well over an hour on a bad one. I can’t magic away the other cars, but I can do the next best thing – cycle! But if I’m not up for a ride, there’s always live traffic on my sat nav.
It’s saved countless hours for drivers, and probably quite a few hairs being torn out as well. And I’ve experienced just how good live traffic data is when assessing systems from Garmin and TomTom.
How live sat nav traffic works
For those who don’t know about it, many sat navs these days go beyond taking you from A to B, pointing out your nearest petrol station and beeping when you approach a speed camera. They can receive details of traffic jams and reroute you around them if a faster road exists.
Moreover, the latest system gets much more frequent, richer and accurate information over mobile internet. It gives you details of the delay, updated estimated arrival times, and is frequently looking for shortcuts to avoid traffic jams. Ultimately, it can be a real time saver.
Do you use live traffic?
On suitably equipped standalone sat navs, live traffic tends to be free for the first year, with a charge of about £45 for the second. You won’t get a free year with sat nav apps for your mobile, but you can pay on a monthly basis of about £3-£4, or between £18-£25 for a year.
Are these prices worth it? I drive approximately 1,500 miles a year, which isn’t much, so you might not think it would be worth spending £45 for live traffic data.
However, if it gets me to just one important appointment on time, I definitely think it’s worth it. And it’s certainly much better value than sat nav map updates. Of course, you can get live traffic for free on Google Maps, though admittedly it is less sophisticated.
So, live traffic information on your sat nav – is it essential for your journey to work and, if you do use it, is it worth paying for?