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Study Finds GPS Navigation Quicker and Safer

A study completed by engineers Wen-Chen Lee and Bor-Wen Cheng of the National Yunlin University of Science & Technology in Taiwan showed GPS navigation can save time and gasoline by making unfamiliar trips shorter than those which rely on standard paper maps. By paying 16 drivers to use in-car satellite navigation systems and 16 more to use paper maps to find a set of destinations to which none had ever traveled before, researchers were able to show the GPS assisted journeys to be 7% shorter in urban areas and 2% shorter on rural routes.

Through the use of sensors on each car to log course changes, the study also revealed the use of a GPS may cause you to be a safer driver, by removing the need for sudden lane changes, hesitation, and the general stress of not quite knowing where you are going.

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Maps. by ldsudduth

I’ve researched GPS, and quite frankly; I’ll take my maps and a quick trip to AAA and a visit to the local DOT websites for up-to-date construction information. I’ve never suffered from ‘last minute lane changes, hesitation or stress from not knowing where I am going’.

GPS is one other distraction (like cell/blackberry etc.) that I don’t need. My cell phone is OFF when I drive (and when I had a blackberry for work I turned that off too. I don’t have an incessant need to talk on the phone.

Driver distraction ranks up there with drunk driving as a major cause of accidents.

From a 2006 NHTSA study:

Even though they top the NHTSA administration’s list of distractions, cell phones aren’t the only gadgets that distract drivers from the business of driving. The list of electronic gizmos, which grows each day, includes DVD players, satellite radios, hand-held organizers, iPods, and global positioning systems.

I commit my directions to memory, and carry them with me in the car. IF I find that I don’t recall my directions, I pull over and re-read them from where I am.

It’s called being a responsible motorist and having attention to detail. While conversation can be a distraction, if I’m focused on my driving, I’m not paying attention to what’s being said (much to the consternation of my family), but driving may require more focus and I can’t spare any brain cells for conversation. That’s also the reason I only listen to talk radio; music can be a distraction but I can tune out spoken conversation.

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GPS Navigation Rules by markmcb

San Francisco, like many big cities, is a pain to navigate. I love having my car tell me "prepare to turn right" so that I know I should start changing lanes so I don’t have to react to when I finally see an exit or street sign. The map is cool, but I find the voice and the in-dash next-action commands the most helpful. There is no way I could ever memorize all of the streets in San Francisco and the surrounding areas. I think using GPS increases my quality of driving when compared to me try to read a map or directions. It’s as if I’m riding with some who has a map and is telling me where to go.

Moreover, it’s awesome for finding things in unfamiliar areas. Going to a friend’s house and need to grab something from a grocery store? Ask the car. Need gas? Ask the car. It’s quite the time saver. Make a wrong turn? No worries, the car will recalculate a new route in seconds. And I love knowing the approximate time of my arrival to my destination (and the distance remaining).

I agree that inputting info into a GPS while driving is a big distraction. I always load mine up before I get going and never need to touch it while in motion.

I have been using GPS for about 5 years now. One might say I have become a GPS nerd at this point because it combines three things I like; maps, computers and walking or biking in the woods. I am able to digitize and create my own Garmin maps of trails and landmarks from aerial photography and downloaded topographical maps with such software as cgpsmapper and Mapedit. It’s really amazing in my opinion to create a map on the computer, and then go out into the real world and have it actually match trail for trail as you walk them. Here’s one= I made of a local cross-country ski area. (It doesn’t look like much on that site; the .img file needs to be put into Garmin’s Mapsource software to view and use.) Anyway, I’ve made it into sort of a hobby as you can tell. My daughter and I (mostly I) got into geocaching for a while. The fun thing about that was not so much about finding the actual cache, but the fact that it usually took us to ‘natural wonders’ that were more or less in our backyard we wouldn’t have known about or had a reason to go to otherwise.

I am one of those people who, when driving goes the wrong way all the time. It doesn’t bother me much, but it makes my wife; who seems to have a leftover childhood fear of being ‘lost’, absolutely crazy. So, as a gift a few years back I received a GPS with all the street level maps of the whole country. At certain times of the year we are often going to strange places for my daughters gymnastics tournaments, and since we are usually on a tight time schedule, I find the use of the GPS to be invaluable for at least being in the right lane and things of that nature. The back seat chorus of, "Dad’s turning around again.." has dissapeared for the most part. It takes a little bit of getting used to at first, but I do not find it to be distracting at all, in fact in many cases it’s less so because I know exactly what I’ll be doing at the next intersection and hardly even need to look for signs. The newer more expensive models even talk you through the directions, so minimal eye contact with the unit is needed. The added benefit of finding restaurants, gas stations and anything else nearby is another great feature as long as you don’t try to find them while you are driving.
This winter the use of GPS got us out of a huge mess in Pennsylvania when we were traveling to Florida and all the major highways in the whole state were closed because of extreme icing. We were able to get off the highway and route our way through the back streets of Wilkes-Barre avoiding all the stuck tractor-trailers in the main part of town and eventually get our way out of there without going in circles through a strange (and confusing) place.

I think like many gadgets in today’s world, this is one that you either have a use for, or if you have the natural ability to not to get lost or make wrong turns, probably don’t need. Many of you would probably be horrified to know that I don’t carry a cell phone because of the same philosophy of having no necessity for one.

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