5 Reminders about Using GPS on Vacation
GPS is one of the greatest inventions of our time. Google, God of the search engines, and other hardware and software companies such as Garmin, Magellan and TomTom, have created ways for us to chart our entire trip using global positioning satellite, estimate our arrival time to the nearest minute, and show us all of the latest restaurants, gas stations, and food vendors within a 100-mile radius. This is all great, but there are a few reminders to keep in mind when using these great devices. Some people have gotten so far off-track that they had to call state police to come rescue them, and some have met with an even worse fate because they relied 100% on their GPS.
So the staff at Skycap News has compiled a list of 5 tips that will keep you safe while on vacation when using GPS and on the right planet.
Useful GPS Vacation Tips
- Trust your gut and your GPS. Yes, you can trust GPS to the nearest inch most of the time. But let’s face it. It’s technology. Anything can happen. It’s also based on satellite. So this can be interrupted by solar outages, weather, and other events. Granted, it’s rare. But it does happen. On main roads and highways, I’ve never had a problem with it. But there have been times that, when given a choice between an old dirt road that leads to nowhere in a tiny farming town and a city street, sometimes GPS will default to the shorter route, even if that route would be dangerous to travel. So use common sense.
- Keep all of your technology and smart devices charged with extra power sources. You never know how long your trip will take. My USB hub in my car is out right now. I’m going to get it fixed soon. Because, although I own numerous portable and mobile chargers that have stored power I can take with me, they can run out quicker than you think. So make sure your USB/cigarette lighter hub is in working order.
- Pay attention to verbal directions of GPS and Map Apps. GPS technology is trained to tell you ahead of time when there is a turn coming up, so pay attention to what it is saying. You should also keep in mind that you must make your attention to the road job one. You don’t want to be distracted by talking to people on the phone or in your car when it’s time for a turn, especially in heavy traffic. GPS has actually caused some people to have a fender-bender (or worse) while on vacation when they are distracted by other things. Safety first. . . So pay attention!
- Think outside the box. While GPS is inherently accurate, use your own thinking and common sense to choose when to make the turn. Remember that GPS finds you the first turn-off that it predicts will take you closest to your target destination. But you can always wait until the next turn if you feel more comfortable taking the next one. For instance, if you have traffic enabled, it’s best to listen to your GPS to avoid a potentially bad wreck or construction that might cause one to sit in traffic instead of cruising along while enjoying your trip in the fastest safest manner possible.
- Keep your GPS software up-to-date. Most GPS software requires occasional updating via USB from your device. Maps are updated regularly, which may affect the accuracy of your GPS system, so make sure you keep this updated. One great feature that usually comes standard with new GPS purchase and registration is free lifetime updates. Previously, this was a profit center for most GPS Manufacturers. One can’t help but wonder if the increased smartphone usage vs. GPS unit had something to do with it?
GPS: Useful Dashboard Co-Pilot
While the GPS can be a source of frustration (insert “recalculating” voice of your choice here), the benefits greatly outweigh anything that might be perceived as negative. Common sense is the rule of thumb when it comes to using GPS devices, apps, and tools. GPS is fantastic. It saves you time, frustration, and even money. But remember that it’s only as good as the people who use it while traveling, and the thinking brain behind it who makes the decisions. Maintain your control. Resist the tendency to give away total control to a GPS or any app or piece of hardware. Your life might depend on it.