ASK GARY: How do I best use my GPS device while driving?
With the advent of GPS navigation, the art of cartography has steadily declined. While looking at maps to find your way has become a dated practice, using GPS brings up some legal and safety concerns.
You probably agree that GPS navigation is the simplest way to find your way around unfamiliar areas, and is especially useful for nighttime and low-visibility situations, where you can be notified of oncoming turns. Yet there are several considerations that should be made before taking to the road.
Before you use GPS guidance for your next trip, make sure know you know the laws on using electronics while driving. In the state of Massachusetts, smartphones cannot be used for GPS navigation (nor for texting or any internet-activities), meaning that only standalone devices, or the GPS included with your vehicle can be used by the driver. Whenever possible, the front passenger should be responsible for helping the driver navigate, and always offer plenty of prior notice for upcoming directions.
Always enter the address of your destination before driving, and take the time to study your route. By having an idea of where you’re going can save you from reacting suddenly to any unexpected turns. This is also a good opportunity to see if there’s a mistake in the route, whether it be an incorrect address, or machine error.
Get accustomed to your GPS device so that you can confidently and comfortably follow instructions, while remaining in full control of your vehicle. When you know what each verbal instruction means, you won’t have to consult your device instructions for clarification –and be able to keep your eyes on the road. The great thing about GPS is if you miss a turn, it will automatically reroute you, so just remember to keep calm when you hear that hated phrase “recalculating.”