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FSX Highways, Enjoying Flight Simulator From the Road With Breathtaking Views Not Noticed from the Air While You Fly.

Updated on June 17, 2012

A breathtaking view of an approach while crossing the Baltimore Beltway at BWI

A breathtaking view of an approach while crossing the Baltimore Beltway at BWI
A breathtaking view of an approach while crossing the Baltimore Beltway at BWI

I have been playing MIcrosoft Flight Simulator now for over 15 years since the Flight Simulator 95 days. Back then, when you compare Flight Simulator 95 to FSX, you can definitely see the big improvement and when Microsoft added the highway traffic to Flight Simulator, the classic game took on a life of its own. Now, with the animated highways full of cars and trucks, Flight Simulator finally feels like the real world. The views of the highways from above the skies are totally breathtaking. But the REAL question is: What does the world of Flight Simulator look like from the ground while driving on highways. I was curious and decided to join the traffic and then look around.

After flying the friendly skies of Microsoft Flight Simulator for 15 plus years, I have now found a new way to enjoy the game: from the road driving my car on the major highways along with the other cars and trucks.

I am very surprised to find that most of the major interstates and highways in the United States (I have not tried outside the US yet) are duplicated very well in Flight Simulator, almost exactly as they are in real life.

Ok, some of you may be asking why? Doesn't that sound boring to drive a highway when I can fly? I have always been wondering if and when Microsoft would add cars to the roadways that they had barren for over 15 years and always wondered what it would be like, but it seems there were thousands of flight simulator fans who wanted the same thing.

The cool thing about driving the highways is that it is fascinating to see the amazing perspective of cities and bridges as they appear in the distance and how they come to life as you get closer, like in real life. Also, you can learn how to drive the major highways if you are going on a road trip in the future. Microsoft has done a GREAT job making the highways as they are in real life, every bend, every cross of a body of water. And you don't have to spend a dime on gas or airfare.

In this hub, I will show you all of the following (See below for screenshots of the major highways of flight simulator):

  1. how to get started driving around the Flight Simulator roadways and highways
  2. some of the cars you can download to drive around
  3. strategies for navigating the highways without getting lost since you will not have GPS or any type of radios to find airports
  4. some cool common landmarks to look for
  5. how to tell if you can drive over a bridge and which ones will cause you to sleep with the fish)
  6. common flaws to watch out for
  7. include screenshots

1. How to get started driving around the Flight Simulator roadways and highways

Before getting started, pick a highway that you know well. Pick one that you drive on every day or week. Make sure it is a major highway. This way, you will know if Microsoft got it right.

2. Download some cars to drive

Yes, you can drive a plane on the highway, but make it real. Get a car. I downloaded a BMW and a jeep.


Breathtaking View of Highway 76 and the city of Philadephia, PA

Breathtaking View of Highway 76 in Philadephia, PA. In front of the skyscrapers of download Philly.
Breathtaking View of Highway 76 in Philadephia, PA. In front of the skyscrapers of download Philly.

A BMW to drive! Driving in downtown Baltimore.

My BMW. Search Google for this car for FSX. You will find several websites that let you download them. Here, I am driving in downtown Baltimore.
My BMW. Search Google for this car for FSX. You will find several websites that let you download them. Here, I am driving in downtown Baltimore.

A Nice Red Jeep!

I also have a red jeep. Search Google for this car for FSX. You can download the jeep from the same websites as the BMW.
I also have a red jeep. Search Google for this car for FSX. You can download the jeep from the same websites as the BMW.

Using Google Maps and Flight Simulator to Track the Highways

Once you get familiar with your own local highway, you may be interested in trying different highways. I live in New York, but I once drove from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on interstate 15 and Google Maps helped me get there on FSX, but oddly enough, I-15 in FSX was exactly the same as it was on Google Maps. I made it with no problem. With a simulation rate of 4x, I made it there in 30 minutes (it is a 4 hour drive in real life). Remember, you don't have GPS in your car like you do in the air, so you need a map.

I followed Google Maps to drive I-15 from LAX to Las Vegas in Flight Simulator.

A
los angeles lax:
L.A.X. (LAX), 1 World Way, Los Angeles, CA 90045, USA

get directions

B
mandlay bay, las vegas:
Shark Reef Aquarium, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89119, USA

get directions

How to tell if you can drive over a bridge and which ones will cause you to sleep with the fish)

What's cool about driving in Flight Simulator is that you can drive over some bridges, not all, but I will tell you how to find out which bridges are drivable. For the bridges that you can drive over, the views are memorizing.

To tell if you can drive over a bridge, simply drive to up to the bottom of the roadway. If you see cars going over the roadway and entering the bridge, so can you. If the cars stop or disappear, you will either need to fly over it with a plane or slew your car over it.

Driving over the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia

Driving over the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia
Driving over the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia

Driving over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Driving over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
Driving over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

You cannot drive over the Varrazano Bridge in Brooklyn

You unfortunately cannot drive over the Varrazano Bridge in Brooklyn. No cars are entering the bridge..
You unfortunately cannot drive over the Varrazano Bridge in Brooklyn. No cars are entering the bridge..

Some cool common landmarks to look for...

I love major bridges and the perspective from the road is amazing. You do not see this amazing level of detail from the air while you are flying your Cessna or Airbus 320...

Landmark: Varrazano Narrows Bridge in Brooklyn

Landmark: Varrazano Narrows Bridge in Brooklyn, NY from the Belt Parkway. Almost identical to real life!
Landmark: Varrazano Narrows Bridge in Brooklyn, NY from the Belt Parkway. Almost identical to real life!

Candlestick Park in San Francisco

Candlestick Park in San Francisco
Candlestick Park in San Francisco

Landmark: Coney Island from Belt Parkway

Landmark: Coney Island from Belt Parkway in Brooklyn. Take a look at the famous Cyclone rollercoaster.
Landmark: Coney Island from Belt Parkway in Brooklyn. Take a look at the famous Cyclone rollercoaster.

Common flaws to watch out for

I believe that Microsoft may not have bet on many people driving the highways in Flight Simulator, but I think it is just as exciting as flying and you see the world from a better view then just clouds.

Microsoft has a lot of flaws in its highways and I hope these get fixed in future versions of Flight Simulator.

Flaw #1: Highways are not even and some bridge roadways have holes in them causing you to fall through and into the water.

Flaw #1: Highways are not even
Flaw #1: Highways are not even

Flaw #2: The AI cars drive over the overpasses. Funny to watch.

Flaw #2: The AI cars drive over the overpasses. Funny to watch.
Flaw #2: The AI cars drive over the overpasses. Funny to watch.

Flaw #3: Sometimes the highways go under the ground, but not exactly underground. Huh?

Flaw #3: Sometimes the highways go under the ground, but not exactly underground. Huh? This is a real bug.
Flaw #3: Sometimes the highways go under the ground, but not exactly underground. Huh? This is a real bug.

Intersections of major interstates are messy to look at from the ground and confusing to cross.

Intersections of major interstates are messy to look at from the ground and confusing to cross.
Intersections of major interstates are messy to look at from the ground and confusing to cross.

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