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 “road warriors” have gotten so far off-track that they had to call the state police to come to rescue them. While this technology is useful, some have met with an even worse fate because they relied 100% on using GPS on vacation.
Using GPS on Vacation Tips
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.
- 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 technology. Therefore, the signal 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. However, there have been times, when locating 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 might be more treacherous 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, and I’m getting a new one soon. I own numerous portable and mobile chargers that have stored power I can take with me, they can run out quicker than you think. Make sure your USB/cigarette lighter hub is in working order.
- Pay attention to verbal directions of GPS and Map Apps. GPS technology is programmed to tell you ahead of time when there is a turn coming up. Stay alert and 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 other passengers when it’s time for a turn. Especially in heavy traffic. GPS misues has actually caused drivers to have a fender-bender (or worse) while on vacation. Please refrain from becoming distracted while driving. 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 travel 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. Following these driving travel tips should help you avoid the hassles while on vacation. Safe travels!