Traffic jams are about as much fun as going to the dentist, but there’s a way to help you avoid frustrating gridlocks thanks to TomTom’s HD Traffic service.
Offered in South Africa by the Dutch satellite navigation company, TomTom HD Traffic provides real-time traffic information on the company’s higher-end navigation devices, and where possible calculates a quicker alternative route to your destination. In partnership with Tracker, it determines the traffic speed on the road network, and the simcard-based system is able to read speed and direction of travel from vehicles fitted with Tracker or connected TomTom devices. With a connected community of about 400 000 vehicles it has a wide spread across the country.
EASY TO USE
TomTom loaned us a Go 1005 unit to test for a couple of weeks and I was pretty impressed by HD Traffic’s effectiveness. It’s very easy to use. Once you’ve punched in your destination on the TomTom device, it displays an overview of your route and marks any traffic delay hot spots, and how many minutes they’re each expected to last.
If there’s a quicker route available a message box pops up on the screen to offer this option, which you can tap and be on your merry, gridlock-avoiding way. The system refreshes every two minutes, so you’re kept up to date with changing traffic situations as they happen.
The best to avoid heavy traffic is to avoid driving during peak hour, but if your employer doesn’t offer this flexi-time option, a system like HD Traffic is the next best thing. It saved me a lot of time on a few occasions by re-routing me past traffic jams, and it was quite accurate in predicting the length of delays.
When e-tolls come into operation, HD Traffic will become even more useful in selecting alternative toll-avoiding routes.
The device warns you of speed cameras, and you’re also able to quickly record the location of these traffic department money-makers and share it with the TomTom community.
The TomTom Go 1005 sells for R3 000 and includes a one-year HD Traffic subscription (thereafter about R40 a month for the subscription). However, when TomTom launches its new generation Go series in November, HD Traffic will be available for the lifetime of the device as part of the purchase price. -Star Motoring