How to Check for Traffic in Google Maps

Google Maps is an incredibly useful navigation app that most people rely on to get accurate real-time traffic information and find the fastest routes. Here is a comprehensive guide on the various ways you can check for live traffic conditions in Google Maps, both on desktop and mobile.

Check Traffic on Google Maps Desktop

  1. Go to and search for a location or area you want to view traffic for.
  2. Click on the “Layers” icon on the left side of the search bar.
  3. Select the “Traffic” option.
  4. The map will now display real-time traffic with color-coding:
    • Green indicates clear traffic
    • Yellow is medium/slow traffic
    • Red means very slow or congested traffic
    • Gray means no traffic data is available
  5. You can also change to the “Typical traffic” option to see usual traffic conditions on various days and times. This helps plan trips accordingly.

Check Traffic on Google Maps Mobile App

The Google Maps app for Android and iOS provides the easiest way to check live traffic on the go:

  1. Open the Google Maps app on your phone.
  2. Search for a location or allow access to your current location.
  3. Tap on the “Layers” icon on the top right (looks like stacked squares).
  4. Choose the “Traffic” option.
  5. The map will display real-time traffic information with color-coding, similar to desktop.
  6. You can also enable the traffic widget on Android to see traffic conditions right on your home screen without needing to open the app.

Traffic Information on Route Directions

Whenever you look up directions in Google Maps for driving, it will automatically factor in live traffic conditions for the route.

  1. Enter your starting point and destination on Google Maps.
  2. Tap “Directions”.
  3. Select driving and your preferred route.
  4. The estimated time and traffic delays will be visible below the route overview. Tap for more traffic detail.
  5. Traffic conditions are updated in real-time so times may change based on actual circumstances.

Change Route to Avoid Traffic

If your route has heavy traffic causing delays, you can easily change to an alternate faster route:

  1. On the directions, tap the three dots next to your starting point.
  2. Choose “Route options”.
  3. Toggle on “Avoid highways”, “Avoid tolls” or other preferences.
  4. The route will be recalculated with alternatives.
  5. You can also manually select alternate routes suggested in gray to change the active directions.

Typical vs Live Traffic

Google Maps shows both live and typical traffic conditions:

  • Live traffic uses real-time user data to display current road conditions. It is the most accurate for present moment.
  • Typical traffic uses historical data to show usual traffic on a day/time. It is best for planning future trips.

Make sure you select the right option based on whether you need information on traffic right now or later.

How Google Maps Gets Traffic Data

Google Maps displays highly accurate real-time traffic data by leveraging crowdsourced, anonymous location pings from users. The aggregated data helps determine traffic speed and delays on roads. Google also uses historical traffic patterns, user-contributed information, and reports from local agencies.


Checking for the latest traffic conditions on Google Maps is simple whether you use the desktop site or mobile app. Both provide color-coded maps to clearly see problem areas causing delays. This allows you to get the fastest routes, save time stuck in traffic jams, and better plan your commute or trips.