Problems with relying on GPS

Be careful about relying too much on a GPS for your driving directions. Instructions from your GPS are not always best.

GPS devices are dumb devices. They only try to do their one task, without knowing much about anything else. Their task is to calculate the shortest physical (land) distance between two points. In doing so, the device may pick a random different route which is not familiar to you. If you know a familiar route you have tried before, but the device gives you an unrecognizable new route, then trust your experience.

I have seen my device on many occasions pick a back-road when I have set out to travel by a highway. That road either had a traffic light every intersection, or a four-way stop sign. Obviously, the route was actually much slower in getting me to the destination.

GPS devices do not take traffic conditions into consideration, especially regular heavy traffic in certain parts of the day.

Everyone should keep a paper map of their surrounding area in the car.

Before starting on a journey, along with bringing a GPS, print out a paper route instruction. Go over the route on both your device and on paper. Note any differences. Memorize any turns. When printing out instructions, print a zoomed-in map of the immediate area of the destination, because it is easy to get lost or confused right near your destination.

Different online route instruction providers and your GPS device will often disagree with each other.


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Page last modified 21-May-16 15:43:43 EDT
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