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Hate Your Commute? Force Google to Find You a Smarter Route

Whether you are headed to a client's location for the first time or driving to the office for your daily commute, getting stuck in traffic is about the most unpleasant thing this side of a root canal. You can use a couple of little-known features in Google Maps to easily clear the way to a trouble-free commute.

Google Maps does two things that escape the notice of many people: You can use it to get a look at future traffic patterns, and you can drag-and-drop your way to a different route. Here's what you can do:

1. In Google Maps, set the start and end points of your trip and get directions. If this is a route you take frequently, save the link so you can easily get to it again later.

2. Check the traffic. Click the Traffic button at the top of the map, and then click Change. Here, you can specific a day and time to see the traffic when you're actually traveling.

3. Is the traffic too much to handle? No problem. You can tell Google to re-route you. Just grab the plotted route and drag it to a different road. You can move your path from one that follows the main highway, for example, to less-traveled surface streets, for example. The driving directions will recalculate immediately.