There’s nothing worse than running into a traffic jam when you’re trying to get somewhere. Many modern sat navs are able to take traffic into account when working out your route, and update your route to get around jams that appear. There are a few different ways that these sat navs download the traffic data – read on to find out more!

Nowadays, many sat navs are able to take traffic into account when they’re working out the fastest route for you. That means that you can spend as little time sat in traffic as possible, and even avoid any pockets of traffic that might build up on the way.

There are two main ways that sat navs receive traffic information:

Digital radio

The simplest way to get traffic updates on a sat nav is via DAB signals. This service is free (it’s transmitted just like a radio station, but you can’t hear it!), and works in the same way as when your car ‘knows’ the name of a radio station. Normally, the charging cable for your sat nav acts as the aerial, so it can receive the radio signal on its own – just like the Garmin nuvi 2529LMT-D.

Mobile internet

Using mobile internet will get you the most detailed traffic information. There are a couple of ways that this can be done. The first is using a built-in sim card in the sat nav, which connects to the internet and regularly downloads traffic updates. Some sat navs that include sim cards (like the TomTom GO 6100) also include lifetime data, because traffic updates use very little.

The second way your sat nav can use mobile data by using tethering. This method uses your phone’s internet connection to download data (usually via 3G or 4G) and then transmit it to the sat nav, normally via Bluetooth. Most newer sat navs now use a specific app to do this. Either way, you can turn tethering on in your phone’s settings.

If you do use tethering for traffic data, the amount of data used is very small. However, not all phone plans allow tethering, especially if you’re on pay as you go. For those that do allow tethering, there will be a limit on the amount of data that can be used. This shouldn’t be a problem if you’re just using your phone for your sat nav, but it’s something to keep an eye on before you throw away your router at home!

Upgrading your sat nav

Many services for receiving traffic updates over the internet (whether they’re through an app or just via the sat nav itself) need a paid subscription. Some sat navs will include a lifetime subscription to a traffic service, so you can save a lot of money by investing in one of these at the start. Even if you have lifetime traffic updates, you may still need to tether your sat nav to your phone.

Using services like this means that you also have the option of upgrading your sat nav in future. Whether that means permanently getting traffic data because your commute has changed, or just subscribing to a month while you’re driving around, it can be a great way to make the most of your tech! Similarly, many sat navs that use DAB radio for traffic information can get data from a smartphone, for more detailed traffic updates.

Hopefully by now you know how to avoid a jam when it gets to traffic sat navs. Head over to our site to take a look at the range – you’ve got no excuse for being late!

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