By Anthony Wakefield
GPS technology is really great: we get to see the location of our car against a map of entire continents. It helps us to understand where we are and where we need to go, even if you haven’t been in the place where you’re driving before. But even this great technology is not without its mistakes, especially when we’re the ones making them.
Driving with a GPS doesn’t guarantee a smooth, headache-free ride every single time, but in order to help you understand how to better avoid those headaches, it’s a good idea to learn about some common mistakes people make.
Mistake #1: Blindly trusting your GPS. Do you remember that episode of the U.S. version of The Office in which Michael Scott drives into a lake because he blindly trusts the GPS device? That’s what you want to avoid. We might assume that this driver in Italy made the same mistake when he ended up on the train tracks. If you’re trusting your GPS so much that you’ll drive on to train tracks, then you’re making a mistake. You’ll want to bring more critical thinking to the table in order to ensure you don’t end up on the wrong road. Heck, you should always be keeping your eyes on the road as much as possible when driving: you should be able to trust your eyes and know when a GPS is being plain wrong. Be willing to say “no” and let the GPS recalculate a better route. (Note: sometimes a GPS will try to steer you back to the bad route. Continue your skepticism.)
Mistake #2: Entering a poor destination. If you’re going to a specific home address and only enter the city you’re driving to, guess what? Your GPS isn’t going to steer you to that specific destination once you get into the city. It will likely take you to an intersection or something of that nature: something that won’t really help you at all once you get closer to your destination. Make sure you enter a specific destination, and if you don’t have a specific destination ready to go, at least keep in mind that your GPS isn’t steering you precisely where you need to go.
Mistake #3: Not considering traffic. The GPS might take you through a bad route if it doesn’t understand where the traffic jams are. Be willing to skirt the GPS directions if you hear about a traffic jam ahead of time: instead, go a side route and force your GPS to “recalculate” a new route for you. It might take a while before the GPS doesn’t try to steer you back to the highway, but eventually it will take the hint and steer you a better way.
Mistake #4: Ignoring visual cues. This is along the same lines as blindly trusting your GPS device: if you ignore the visual cues around you, you can easily make mistakes. Your GPS is simply telling your location relative to a pre-loaded map: you’re the one who’s actually on the ground and looking around to see what’s where. You have to know when to trust your own instincts and the visual cues around you.
Mistake #5: Looking at the GPS device too much. Even if you have a computer navigating for you, you’ll still want to keep your eyes on the road. That’s why the GPS will announce its turns for you: so that you don’t have to look at it! Avoid looking at it so much that you lose sight of what’s around you. If you were looking at your GPS, you might not see that someone in front of you is braking. That can be a bad situation.
Anthony Wakefield wrote this article on behalf of GPS Systems Australia. Visit our site for the latest GPS News, Reviews, & Prices….