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Your car's speedometer is deceiving you: Why does the car's speedometer differ from the speed displayed by Google Maps?

The use of navigation apps such as Google Maps and Waze has become essential for many drivers as they help find the fastest routes to different destinations, avoid traffic jams, and know the locations of speed cameras. 

Why does the car's speedometer differ from the speed displayed by Google Maps? Your car's speedometer is deceiving you

Why is the speed of a car meter different from the speed of Google Maps?

But have you ever wondered why these applications display speed differently from what is shown on our car's speedometers? This question may raise a lot of questions and discussions among drivers, but understanding the reason behind this difference can be crucial for ensuring safe driving.

Some drivers may notice a discrepancy between the speed displayed by these applications and the car's speedometer. This contradiction raises questions about the accuracy of each, causing confusion and debate among drivers. In this article, we will conduct a detailed analysis and scientific study of the reasons behind the difference in speed between the car's speedometer and Google Maps.

For example, if you use the Google Maps app via Android Auto, you may see that the speed you are traveling at is 120 km/h, while you may notice on your car's speedometer that the speed may be slightly higher, such as 125 km/h. The question is, what is the true speed in this case?

In this article, we will uncover the reason behind the mismatch in speed between apps like Google Maps and Waze and the car's speedometer at times, and we will explain the factors to consider when choosing which app to trust while driving.

The car's speedometer relies on a specific calibration, while Google Maps relies on GPS technology to determine speed

GPS accuracy can be affected by factors such as:
  1. The presence of buildings or trees.
  2. Weather conditions.
  3. The presence of other obstructions that hinder the signal.
The discrepancy in the displayed speeds between the applications and the car's speedometer is due to the different calculation methods adopted by each system. The apps use GPS to determine the car's location and speed, while the car's speedometer relies on mechanical sensors mounted on the wheels to measure speed.

Speedometers are manufactured with certain tolerances, which may result in a speed display higher than the actual speed

Wheel rotation is recorded and speed is calculated accordingly, but this method may be affected by factors such as tire size, tire pressure and road surface quality, which can lead to inaccurate reading of the vehicle's speed.

Google Maps speed is calculated using the average speed over a specific distance, while the speedometer indicates your instantaneous speed

So, there is no definitive answer about the "true" speed.

However, it is important for drivers to be aware of the factors that can cause speed variance; thus, discrepancies may arise between the speeds displayed in apps and the actual car speed. Therefore, relying on the speed indicated by the car's odometer is preferred for an accurate speed reading while driving.
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