Posted by Barry Brumitt, Software Engineer

Do you prefer to avoid driving on major highways? Do you ride a scooter that can't travel at highway speeds? Or do you simply prefer to take the road less traveled? If so, Google Maps driving directions now has an "Avoid Highways" option for you.

When you click the the "Avoid Highways" checkbox, the route instantly updates to one that tries very hard to stay off of interstates, motorways, and other major roadways. This may give you a much longer path, but one that you may find more suitable. If it isn't what you want, you can uncheck the box and quickly revert to the normal route to help plan your trip.

A good example of such a route can be found here, from Seattle to Google's office in Kirkland. The route skips the I-90 and WA-520 floating bridges across Lake Washington, taking the scenic route around the lake through Juanita instead.

If you really have the time to take a different road through the yellow wood, you'll be glad to know the Avoid Highways option even works over long distances: an account of your backwoods journey from Vancouver, BC to Key West, FL would make a great My Map!