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Road Trip - is Google Maps Accurate?

Nottingham
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Road Trip - is Google Maps Accurate?

Hi,

I have a road trip planned for later this month and wanted to confirm that Google Maps has roughly the right times.

I will be leaving San Francisco hopefully around 7 AM and getting onto the i101 and going through Santa Barbara then having lunch in Malibu to get to final destination Santa Monica.

According to Google Maps it will take roughly 6 hours and 41 minutes, would this be about right?

I know PCH has better views and that i5 is quicker but not as nice, which is why I opted for i101 as I assume it looks better than i5 but quicker (as I dont have time to stay over night during the drive)

Thanks :)

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Monterey Bay...
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1. Re: Road Trip - is Google Maps Accurate?

Google is overly optimistic. What day of the week are you planning on traveling? If weekday, you'll get commute traffic at the 7am hour in SF and San Jose area. If weekend, you'll hit beach traffic in Pismo area and Santa Barbara on down.

Also, Highway 101 is patrolled by aircraft, so speeding could land you a ticket (personal experience). When we travel to LA, we tend to go 101 as 5 is so boring. It does take a little bit longer than 5 in perfect conditions, but having something to look at is worth the time in my opinion. Safe travels!

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Nottingham
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2. Re: Road Trip - is Google Maps Accurate?

Thanks :) It will be a Thursday.

I usually stick to the speed limit at home so that shouldnt be a problem

Thanks again! :)

Santa Monica...
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3. Re: Road Trip - is Google Maps Accurate?

If you want to stop in Malibu (which is on Hwy 1 not Hwy 101) you're going to have to get on Hwy 1 at Oxnard or Camarillo.

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Nottingham
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4. Re: Road Trip - is Google Maps Accurate?

Hi,

Yeah I believe ill be coming off just before Santa Barbara and then follow route 1 through Malibu and then onto Santa Monica :)

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Norwich, United...
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5. Re: Road Trip - is Google Maps Accurate?

Sorry to be a pedant but it's US101 (a US highway) and not I-101 (which would be an interstate if it existed).

San Francisco...
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6. Re: Road Trip - is Google Maps Accurate?

Google maps is based on average speed limit with no traffic , no rest or food stops and as we all know that will never happen. Also if you take highway 1 in SoCal. It will add to your time If you are not doing 1 why not just fly and gain a day and if you want to do a trip to Santa Barbara you can still actually do that and spend time there instead do driving all the way down and getting little time . You can go on the first Burbank flight and drive to SB and drive to Santa Monica that evening

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7. Re: Road Trip - is Google Maps Accurate?

Driving 101 and then cutting over to PCH at Rice Avenue (near Oxnard) or Las Posas (Camarillo) is a good idea. It is a nice drive. You'll see quite a lot of the coast and our rolling oak-studded coastal hills, and pass thru Santa Barbara, a great city and a fine stop.

Expect @ 7.5 hours of actual driving time unless you hit rush hour traffic. Almost all of it will be freeway, so not too stressful.

Edited: 09 June 2014, 22:40
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Corona del Mar, CA
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8. Re: Road Trip - is Google Maps Accurate?

If you left at 6AM it would be closer to 7 1/2 hours using the cutoff down to Malibu. If you try to leave at 7AM it could be 9 hours.

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Elk Grove...
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9. Re: Road Trip - is Google Maps Accurate?

Can you link the google route you use for this trip?

From my estimate using google, the route: San Francisco (just the main reference point, the actual site can cause you 15-20 minute more, or less).

The distance to Malibu is 418 miles. Google always defaults to use route CA-154 - to shorten distance to 398 miles. Very bad idea. 154 goes through mountains. Very winding when descending to Santa Barbara and takes much longer. Stay with CA-101.

418 miles over 6.5 hours, averaging 65 mph. That's averaging! Good luck! When you make 2 pit stops along the way to use bathrooms, you will need to drive 70-75 mph to catch up. (But you will obey the speed limit, you said...)

Going through the San Jose area, as stated in #1, you are fighting morning commute traffic. From Santa Barbara on to Oxnard, there are slow downs. From Oxnard on to Malibu, along highway 1, you cannot drive 65 mph.

This will be a very late lunch in Malibu.

Edited: 09 June 2014, 23:23
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Bloomington, Indiana
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10. Re: Road Trip - is Google Maps Accurate?

I use the Google figures to ballpark times (it's obviously good on distances).

The times *always* need to be bumped for stops to eat, switch drivers, stretch your legs, empty your bladder, see/do something, etc, which can generally be predicted fairly accurately. More variable are traffic (generally time of day/day of week & timing considerations), construction delays, and the occasional case where the speed limit and "real world" driving speeds just don't mesh.

What I tend to do is start with the Google time/distance & then adjust for what I know will happen "for me" (time/length of trip and eating, bathroom breaks, "sightseeing stops," etc). I then consider & pad for traffic & construction delays based on specifics.

I then pad this by as much as I consider appropriate. If I don't care about my arrival, this might be nothing. If I'm having to catch a flight or to be at my destination at a specific time (day a wedding) then I'll give it a more generous padding.

I'll close by making sure you know you can "drag" the Google route & add waypoints along the way. I do this *very* frequently for lots of reasons. For example: to hit a location I want to visit on the way, to avoid a city center/rush hour traffic or known construction, and/or the fact that often favor "blue highways" over interstates (the same idea you're doung by going the 101 instead of I-5).

That's my $.02,

hlo