TomTom has launched a free version of its excellent HD Traffic service on the web, allowing you to check for delays in your area before leaving the house.

The live traffic service, which is available on your favourite web browser in Europe, South Africa and New Zealand, updates the traffic picture in your area every two minutes.

Brought to the web in an easy-to-use interface, the TomTom HD traffic service lets you know what's causing hold-ups in your area with icons placed at certain areas of the map.

Clicking on the icon will provide details of how many incidents there are, how long you'll be delayed and how far the each of the traffic jams stretches back.

"Perfect starting point"

"You won't find a more accurate or reliable source of live traffic information anywhere," boasts Ralf-Peter Schäfer, the Traffic Director at TomTom.

"The live traffic map is the perfect starting point for anyone planning a journey or who needs the most up-to-date view of the traffic on the road.

"By giving more drivers access to TomTom HD Traffic, we hope that we can start to make better use of the road network and start to reduce traffic congestion for everyone."

The new web-based service, which has been a massive hit on TomTom's mobile devices, should give drivers ample opportunity to plot new routes if there is evidence of long delays.

With the free Google Maps Navigation app for Android phones is providing a great GPS service, it's good to see TomTom respond by putting some of its satnav expertise out there for the world to make use of.