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Google Maps Bum Steer
Google Maps (GM) is a great tool for navigation. I can't count how many times it's helped me find my way to somewhat obscure addresses.
A great feature too is that it will actually speak the instructions on where to turn - so you can keep your eye on traffic and concentrate on driving.
That said, I've discovered that the route that GM chooses is not always the best.
I recently found myself in Ottawa Ontario Canada and was making my way to Barrie Ontario Canada.
After plugging in my destination and letting the GPS tell GM what my location was, it told me the best route was:
Hwy 416 to Hwy 401 to Hwy 400 for a total of 525 km and a total time of 5h 4m:
Strangely, for our first basic attempt to find a route, GM only offers 1 route - presumably this is the fastest (route).
But do I always want the fastest route? Not at all. I prefer the most efficient route (within reason).
Note that by dragging the route up a bit, I get another route - but it is actually 6 minutes longer:
And if we drag around a bit more (higher up on the map yet again), we get this option too. It's only 4 minutes longer than the first option:
What's interesting to note about option 2 and option 3: They're both 100 km (60 miles) shorter!
So at a cost of 4 minutes (option 2), I'll actually drive 100 km less. And get a quieter, more scenic route to boot.
As I drive an efficient hybrid car, I also get considerable gasoline savings.
By driving 100 km fewer (each way), I'll end up saving about 10 litres of fuel (2.5 gallons).
So consider playing with your Google Maps routes before you go - especially if you're interested in a more efficient, quieter and more scenic (IMO) drive.