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gps does not replace the driver

After reading a tale of how a few ambulance drivers blindly followed a GPS's instructions without employing the use of common sense, I decided to write this post.

This is big and long-winded.. so once again, this is an extended entry.

You've heard me brag time and time again about GPS being the best thing since cushioned toilet seats. Is it? To me it is. However, I will say that there have been, albeit few, instances where it has pointed me in directions I really didn't want to go.

In Maine: There was one time where a StreetPilot i3 lead me directly into the woods in an attempt to get back on the road. Deep into the woods. Like mud-bogging deep.

In Florida: I specifically instruct my GPS to avoid all toll roads (very nice feature). Most of the time it does. However, if the only road it "knows" to get you where you need to go is a toll road, it will put you there anyway. (And by the way, I never got fined. Hopefully never will.) Live and learn. It's because of this event that I keep a roll of quarters in my center console - which to be honest is a good idea. You never know when you'll need quarters for tolls, snacks at rest stops, etc.

There have also been a few instances where the GPS will point me to roads that do not exist, either because:

a) Road used to exist, but doesn't any longer.
b) Road is planned to exist, but isn't built yet.

Basically speaking, the key thing is to employ common sense. Use your experience as a driver to know what to do. If a road looks iffy to you, don't take it. If you feel you know a better route compared to what the GPS says, do it your way. The GPS is not the boss of you.

-------------------------
Those are a few cons, but what about the pros?

Well, I could write a book about the pros of GPS, but here are a few of my oh-so-favorite things.

"Recalculating"

If you have a destination plotted and then make a wrong turn for whatever reason, the GPS will say (yes, it talks) "recalculating" and then get you back on track.

Where would this be useful? Let's say you're driving home from work. You're on the highway. There's an accident up ahead. Cars are backed up for miles. You're forced to exit somewhere you've never been before. No problem. Take it. Drive along a few roads until the next entrance ramp comes up and ta-da.. back on the highway.

Saves fuel

I am nothing short of shocked that no one ever brings up this point. Using GPS saves gas. Tons of it. With my particular GPS, I either instruct it to tell me "shortest route" or "fastest route". And even though mine is set to "fastest", it still beats wandering around wasting gas trying to find a street.

Saves time

Has anyone ever asked you "When will you be here?" if you're heading to someone's house? Now you'll know right down to the minute. The GPS tells you when you will get to wherever it is you're going. It's surprisingly very accurate.

Got annoying kids in the car who ask "WHEN WILL WE BE THERE?!" Now you have an answer.

You'll know your own town better than anyone else

I love pointing this one out. If you're driving in non-navigation mode, the GPS states what road you're on. And I can't tell you how many times someone who's lived in that town all their lives says "Sheesh.. I never knew what the name of that road was" when riding shotgun and watching the GPS. Happens all the time.

Were I to get Northeastern CT specific:

If I asked anyone I know who lives there "Where is Tracy Road?" Everyone knows where that is. If I asked "Where is Grove Street?" Again, that's an easy one. But then if I asked "Okay, then, where's Liberty Highway?"

The response: "Huh?"

Liberty Highway is Route 21.

"Ohh... wow. Didn't know that."

My point? Just because you've lived somewhere all your life doesn't mean you know the area you're in. For example, it wasn't until after I left Connecticut that I realized Scotland CT was south of Dayville CT.

(Now my Connecticut readers are thinking There's a Scotland Connecticut? Yep.)

No more panic attacks or anger fits

This one is like a "part 2" to the "recalculating" thing.

You're trying to get home, and you're lost. Being lost sucks, and there's only one of two ways you can feel if you've been lost for more than 30 minutes. You're either really angry or really paranoid. Possibly a combination of both. You know you're somewhere in the state you live in, but have no idea where. All you want to do is go home. It's night, you're tired, you're hungry.

Enter the GPS.

Tap the screen, select "Favorites", then "Go home".

1. It shows where you are.

Thank you.

2. It tells you where to go.

Thank you.

3. It tells you when you'll get home.

Thank you.

The stress and/or anger? Gone.

That's worth it's weight in gold.

061211
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