Get traffic information before a journey

It can be very irritating to set off on a journey and end up stuck in traffic. You sit there burning petrol, adding to the greenhouse gasses, getting more and more frustrated. A simple 15 minute journey can become half an hour or more, or an hour can turn into two.

If only you knew there was a traffic jam you could have either put off the journey till later or even another day if it wasn't important, or chosen another route if it was essential. With Maps on the Mac you can get bang up to date information on the road conditions before you set off.

Open the Maps app by clicking the icon in the Dock and then click the location arrow icon in the titiel bar. This changes the map view to show your current location. You can also use the search box in the top right corner to find your destination if you want to check the traffic there too.

Select View, Show Traffic and traffic information is added to the map display. Look for the roadworks icon along the route you will be taking. An information window is displayed that tells you how long you can expect to be delayed and when the roadworks are expected to be completed.

Maps for OS X

It isn't just roadworks that cause traffic jams and delays in your journey. Accidents are a major problem too. Maps displays a special icon for accidents and clicking it provides a description that tells you where it is located, the length of time you are likely to be delayed, and at what time the accident is likely to be cleared. You might want to take an alternative route around the accident to avoid getting stuck in the jam.

Maps for OS X

There are general warning symbols too, such as the one shown below. Here a lane closure on a road has caused congestion as traffic builds up and is forced into fewer lanes than there are normally. A bit like sand dribbling through the neck of an hourglass.

Maps for OS X

Traffic information is also shown when using Hybrid view too - select the Hybrid tab at the top of the window. In this Maps image you can see roads with orange dots and roads with red dots. Orange indicates that there is moderate traffic, but it is moving, and red dots mean that there is heavy traffic that could be stationary - stop and go driving. You shoud avoid the red roads and take another route if possible.

Maps for OS X

Here is yet another symbol you might come across in Maps and it indicates that a road has been closed for some reason. In this case a vehicle has overturned on a slip road onto a major road and so it has been closed until it can be removed. The time the road is expected to be reopened is displayed. That's useful information and you can either avoid that road or set off later when the problem has been cleared.

Maps for OS X

Are there any other symbols that appear on Maps? Let everyone know if you find any.

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