Abstract We propose a new strategy for reducing the amount of latency and energy consumption in Blocking Expanding Ring Search (BERS) and enhanced Blocking Expanding Ring Search (BERS*) for mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs). BERS and BERS* are respectively energy and energy–time efficient route discovery protocols for MANETs as compared to conventional Expanding Ring Search (ERS). In this study, we identify unnecessary waiting time caused by a STOP/END instruction in BERS/BERS* and explore the potential of further improvement of their time efficiency. This leads to tBERS and tBERS*, the improved BERS and BERS* respectively. In tBERS/tBERS*, a route node may also issue the STOP/END instruction to terminate flooding. We implement this idea in algorithms, conduct analysis, and achieve further latency reduction in both tBERS and tBERS* as well as the energy saving in tBERS*.