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Google Maps Options - Bigger Roads Only?

Does anyone know if there is a way to force Google Maps to prefer bigger roads to fastest routes? I see the option to "avoid highways", but I want it to "prefer highways."

I'm in Ireland, and Google is killing me by routing us via the sheep trails and one-lane-wide-but-two-way-driving tiny roads. We keep clicking on the main route, and it keeps insisting on switching to smaller roads because it's "faster." I learned in less than two days that the tiny roads might be posted at 100 km/h but there is no way to go faster than 40 km/h. Google of course thinks it will save me time going down the tractor paths because the speed limit is so high. My human navigator is spending the entire trip heads down with a pencil and map, and going mano a mano with Google as it switches back to the small roads every time she taps the big roads. (Looking down at the map was an advantage as I drove over a few narrow, steep mountain passes that made her cry.)

Posted by
8906 posts

When you initially setup your start and destination in the app, Google typically gives you three different routes to choose from. The other two slower routes might be what your are looking for. If this doesn't help be aware that you can also add additional stops (like a larger city or town) between you origin and destination which should keep you on the main roads.

If you happen to have a laptop on you, you can also go yp the Google Maps site and customize your route very simply via the by dragging route lines on the map with your mouse, and send that routing to your phone app.

Posted by
770 posts

Thanks, Michael. We do choose our route but it keeps insisting on switching back, because its algorithm is set to ‘fastest route’. I want to turn that off but can’t see how. I’ll try it via the laptop instead.

It’s just insane. We deliberately pass up a goat trail and it immediately tries again to make us take the next one, no matter how often we click the route we prefer. The clicked route switches to blue and then switches right back to grey as it chooses a route it prefers.

Posted by
169 posts

Try also www.rome2rio.com. In addition to train, bus, taxi, and flight information, it has a Drive option that gives you the "normal" route with estimated time and fuel cost.

Posted by
172 posts

If you have a laptop, you could always make a custom map in “My maps” and the email it to yourself. This is what I did for our drives through Tuscany. I made the custom maps to match the RS drives and put their links in a note on my phone. Clicking on them would then generate them into the google maps app, I would start the trips with cellular data turned on and then turn it off as we drove to save data. As long as you saved an offline google map of an area (which is downright easy), it will show your blue outlined path and show you traveling along it even without cellular data on.

Posted by
4468 posts

Google maps is not really set up the best for the UK or Ireland because it doesn't have enough differentiation level of the types of roads. Quite important roads of an 'intermediate' level can get lost in the farm tracks.

Posted by
557 posts

We love Google Maps and always use it in Italy, but once it did send us down a rough, hilly, unpaved path through a pasture (that did, luckily end up at a real road) and once in a tiny hill town sent us up a narrow, dead-end alley that was more like a driveway and it's only outlet was a human path rather than the road it looked like on the map --- we could not turn around and were stuck there for a while.

I now wonder if the satellite view could have shown us the true state of these "roads." But, yes, Google Maps ought to be able to have an option that shows the routes that go along bigger roads or maybe most commonly used roads.

Posted by
3282 posts

I thought that used to be an option on Google Maps, but can't find it now. Sometimes useful options get lost in the upgrades.

Posted by
4688 posts

Google Maps is the only navigation/GPS app I have used on my phone. But there are others out there as have been mentioned above. Nothing wrong with trying more than one if Google Maps doesn't have a feature you want. You can of course have more than one mapping app on your device.

Posted by
9 posts

I had planned to use Google maps for our trip to Europe this fall, but I have been hearing a lot about CityMaps2Go. I downloaded the free app which only allows you to download two cities. Before I spring for the “pro” version, can any one currently using CM2G tell me why it is better than Google maps - where I can already download offline maps and mark my favorite places? Quite honestly, I can’t tell the difference, but if there is something I am missing please help me out.

Posted by
8906 posts

why it is better than Google maps

I prefer Google Maps because one can get (with a data connection) live updates of things like accidents, construction, heavy traffic, temporary road closures etc.
In addition you can also search for nearby businesses, and attractions and look up things like how busy they are and their opening/closing times. I find a lot of the little things come in handy.

Posted by
1529 posts

Hmm, I just got back from Ireland and we loved our built in sat nav for the car. But, it did take you down the rural, one lane roads sometimes, but we loved those as they had less cars and were very scenic.
We also were not in a hurry. Are you in a hurry?

Posted by
770 posts

@diveloonie - I wasn’t in a hurry, I just didn’t want to sit in the car and drive all day. From where we were staying, we chose day trips that Google suggested would take 90 minutes. We quickly learned to expect it to be twice that. Then get out and sightsee, grab a bite to eat, then drive back again. Driving nearly 6 hours a day, on the left side of small roads, was very tiring and took away some of the fun. I especially didn’t want to do the last hour after dark, exhausted, and probably lost. So we could never relax and enjoy the day's destination, due to worries about the long trip home.

If I go to Ireland again, I probably won’t do the one-week cottage rental. It would be better to move on down the road and not have to drive a circle every day. We thought the longer stay would be relaxing, but it turned out to be the opposite.