Online Driving Directions

No one asks for directions anymore.

Instead, enter the starting address and the destination address in any number of online driving directions sites and get specific directions from point to point (including freeway exit names & numbers) anywhere in the United States (except Hawaii) and some sites include Canada and Europe. (It's 4348.1 miles from my apartment complex to Fairbanks, AK. and driving time would be 66 hours & 53 minutes, according to Yahoo!)

I've learned that it is better to run the search twice on two different sites, though, and see how much they agree or differ. Usually, the results are fairly close. (Sometimes the results are ridiculous and obviously in error.)

Online directions sites have no way to know about exits closed due to current construction (as I found out going to my parents' place in San Antonio recently) or heavy traffic (obviously, drive time will be longer with bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic, etc. (Fortunately, I went to my second printout in San Antonio and the second site had listed a different exit, which worked.)

You don't even have to have an exact street address for your starting or ending points (although I prefer to have that). You can enter an airport code (like IAH) or just an intersection (Cypresswood at Stuebner Airline, plus city, state). You can save your starting addresses (like your home, your office, etc.). Also, instead of entering the city and state, some sites let you just enter the street address and zip code.

You not only get turn by turn directions (right, left, how many miles between turns, etc.) but both an overall map with the route marked and either a small map with details for the destination address or also small map with details for the starting address.

Plus, click the Print icon and get the map plus directions in an easy-to-print format or click the Email icon and email the map & directions to yourself or friends!

I remember my family took long driving vacations while I was growing up. We would drive from Texas to Pennsylvania or from Texas to California, etc. My dad would send away for driving directions and I still remember the maps he got back looked just like the maps on the driving sites these days. The difference is that I got my map to Fairbanks, Alaska in seconds and I'm sure Dad sent away for the maps by mail weeks ahead of time!

For more information see:

  • Yahoo! Maps, Driving Directions, & Traffic
  • MSN Maps & Directions
  • Mapquest.com
  • Maps.com
  • Houston Real-Time Traffic Map
  • Road Delays
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    Last Modified: 1/2/2005