GPS devices are more popular than ever – whether it’s the GPS driven map in your mobile phone or the one built in to your dashboard or the one suction-cupped to your windshield. The good thing about GPS units is that it makes it quick and easy to get just about anywhere. The bad thing is we’re becoming more and more dependent on them and in a short time, most people won’t know how to read a map or give good directions.
In any case, GPS units are here to stay – and they are rather terrific devices! However, most people still don’t know how to use them. So, here are some tips for those who have them, but don’t use them because they are intimidated.
- Plug it in and turn it on. I know so many people who get them for Christmas and birthdays, but they never even plug them in when taking a trip. At the very least curl up by a nice fire with a cup of hot chocolate and your GPS device and hit all the buttons, look at all the screens and become familiar with how it works.
- USE the GPS when you drive somewhere that you already know how to get to. Even if it’s just on your drive to work or to go shopping – search for the address or name of the store and follow the directions. This is a VERY important step. YOU already know where the turns are and what the streets look like – so when the GPS tells you to turn left in 400ft you’ll better understand how it works.
- Follow the instructions – even if you think they are wrong. Often, the maps will take you the fastest way, based on speed limits, right turns and other data. Right turns are often faster than left turns, because you can turn right on a red light but are forced to wait for left turns. The computer IS smarter than you (usually), so give it a try and do what it tells you.
I’ve had four different GPS units and loved everyone for different reasons. Although, my favorite was my first, when my mobile phone had a built-in infrared (IR) emitter, and the GPS had an IR receiver, so I could pull up an address on my phone and point it at the GPS which would find the address and plan the route.