Because i am a big picture type of person, especially when driving...
March 2, 2019 4:16 AM   Subscribe

I need help in step by step directions for this. I am utterly frustrated with all GPS apps, and knowing how I am with tech in general I'm probably I'm using them wrong. Here is what I want to do. Can you please help me in extremely direct, specific instructions?

I want to go from city A /location A to city B/ location B.
I want to avoid highways.
First, using driving directions on my laptop, I find the route I want.
But when it comes time to using my phone on the road, I cannot get the same route. That is, I do not want the gps app on my phone to tell me to turn here and there in ways that deviate from the route I want. I don't want it to suddenly get me on the highway or arbitrarily take me a different way where I don't know where I am as I'm moving and can't stop to reorient myself.
I don't want it to decide " there's too much traffic so we'll do something else now, just follow me."
No, I want my phone app to tell me that turns are coming up and to turn now on a specific, non-highway, route I've chosen, even if it is 4 minutes longer.
If you can help me do this in extremely specific steps, including which app to use and exactly what to do on the app to make this happen, I will be metagrateful.
posted by nantucket to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
As you've noted, this is not as intuitive as you might think, but I've done this many times using "Custom Routes" on Google Maps. It does take a little bit of prep ahead of time though, and isn't really suited for spur-of-the-moment trips.

You can see the detailed step by step directions here.
posted by jeremias at 4:26 AM on March 2, 2019 [4 favorites]

What app are you using on your laptop, and what app are you using on your phone? I realized after writing the below that I assumed you were using Google Maps on both devices, and realized I should check the assumption. Anyway ...

I also prefer to avoid highways. This might be helpful:
* Go to google maps
* Enter your starting point and destination as per usual
* Under "options" click "avoid highways"
* Double-check map to make sure you're cool with it
* Click "send to my phone"

I can't address what it tells you and when, but when I read over the map before driving enough to know the major roads/turns I'm expecting, I feel more confident about following the instructions. I've also been able to use the google maps options to select "no highways" on my phone.
posted by bunderful at 4:44 AM on March 2, 2019 [8 favorites]

The Google Maps app will offer to reroute on the fly if it spots a faster route, but you can just ignore it and it defaults to "no, stay on my current route." Its reroutes will still conform to the "avoid highways" rule however (and there's an "avoid tolls" too that's pretty great), if that's the part you care about rather than driving on specific roads. In the app on my Android device, they're accessed by entering your starting point and destination, tapping "directions" in the lower left corner to generate an initial route, and then tapping the three vertical dots in the upper right corner of the next screen and choosing "Route options". That same menu also has "Add a stop", which can be useful if you want to force a route that's out of the way of all the obvious choices.
posted by teremala at 6:02 AM on March 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

I used google maps sometimes on my phone to do this. I set up the route I want directly on my phone (using route options from the ... next to the starting point to select no motorways or no tolls). Then if it suggests rerouting to avoid traffic, it asks me if I want to do that and I tap 'no thanks' and keep driving on the current route. I don't like the replotted routes as they tend to have more complex directions and I'm more likely to make a wrong turn.
posted by plonkee at 6:05 AM on March 2, 2019

Seconding bunderful's suggestion to use Google Maps on desktop to prepare a route, then "send to my phone". It should give you the exact route but now your phone will read it out turn by turn as you drive. The desktop UI is much easier for creating an exact route. Specifically the ability to add waypoints to the route (new dots) and drag them around.
posted by Nelson at 6:57 AM on March 2, 2019

I'm not sure if you are looking for a longer term solution for this issue but this also aggravates me and I've found it easiest to get an actual GPS unit in my car. Then I determine the path I want at home, indicate a few waypoints to ensure I have that route, and then plug those into my GPS as a "trip" and make sure my GPS is set t avoid highways. It usually, though not always, works. Looks like you may have better solutions using the tools you already have, but dedicated GPS units are fairly cheap (example) and the older models are usually free of all the stupid AI that tries to "help" you in ways that aren't helpful.
posted by jessamyn at 7:40 AM on March 2, 2019

The app Waze offers a “no highways” toggle. I do a lot of driving and between Waze and google maps I find Waze is much more accurate. It has a good UX with visual and voice prompts (please choose boy band for the voice) that give you lots of time to move over (for example it will lower the volume on my song to tell me to turn left in 800 metres, than 400 m, then 100 m, then “left”, but if I miss the turn it automatically calculates the best route from where I am, which may not mean turning around to get back on the original route unless you choose that). It also updates regularly while driving so if there is a traffic slow-down/accident it proactively changes the route to achieve better time, but again you can turn that option off. . Waze also allows you to choose the time of future arrival/departure based on their algorithms and the estimates are usually dead-on.

seriously, I’m driving between 4-14 hours a day lately, someone please help me
posted by saucysault at 11:29 AM on March 2, 2019

Hmm .. I am sort of like you in that I dislike having the gps read me step by step i structions. I use the google maps app on either android or ios (or, previously blackberry which i actually preferred, because the absence of a touch screen meant I could zoom using the keypad, which i could do wihout looking at the phone.. rip RIM and qwerty keypads), but I never set it to read the route step by step. Instead I just reference the map, zoom in or zoom out as needed, and the steps that are listed below. I figure if humans got by with paper maps for most of history pretty ok, this method is unlikely to do me in, and it helps me to learn new places faster. It involves touching my device more than I like but if it gets very involved i pull over. It is the digital equivalent of looking at a map. The others are right that you can try the "avoid highways" toggle. If you need an on the fly way to finagle it, do you know how to tell google to "select point on map" as your destination or point of origin? I have found that method helpful in forcing the app to do my bidding. It is not automated, I sometimes have to pull over, but .. I get my way. Not sure if I'm on the right track in terms of what you're after.. But.. If all of this seems useful but confusing, feel free to memail me, I'd be glad to chat about it.
posted by elgee at 12:32 PM on March 2, 2019

Apple Maps on the iPhone will also ask your permission before rerouting you.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 1:32 PM on March 2, 2019

I think with the Garmin standalone GPS units the functionality you are wanting to use is called following "Tracks". It is useful/desired in the adventure and off-road motorcycling world since the trails followed often aren't really roads.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 5:21 PM on March 2, 2019

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