Tip & How-To about GPS

GPS Devices Are Helpful to a Point

The last time you used your GPS device, did it lead you down the longest path? Did you enjoy traveling the scenic route to Massachusettes through downtown Bronx, New York during rush hour? Did you think the GPS device was going to always give you perfect directions?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, here are just a few common sense tips to using GPS devices:

1-Remember that the GPS device is not your Aunt Lulu who has lived in the area for 75 years and knows all the greatest and safeste shortcuts. It cannot think like a human can think. It is a programmed computer device.

2-Got pot holes? Assuming that your GPS device will take you to your end destination using the quickest and least "pot holiest" roadways might be a mistake. The darned thing has no ability to see what the roadways look like. So, look out for potholes instead of throwing a temper tantrum at the GPS device if your car gets swallowed up in a black energy vortex in a huge, unexpected pot hole.

3-Because your GPS device is a non-thinking creation, assume it will take you on the route programmed in to it. Think about this. A GPS device's programming may be pre-disposed to direct you to pass by an advertiser's branch location.

For example, perhaps the route you travel according to the address you type in passes by all the K-Marts or Targets or WalMarts. For this reason, consider also bringing along an atlas so you can make an informed decision about your travel route.

Compare the GPS suggested route with a route printed on a map atlas. Which is the shorter of the two routes? Which is the safest of the two routes? Do you know the area through which you will be traveling? Do you think you can hold responsible a non-thinking GPS device for your safety?

If you'd like to know about safe places to travel, consider asking the local chamber of commerces found in the various cities on the route before you actually travel to your end destination. Doing this can be a smart move instead of basing your travel routes solely on the directions of the non-thinking GPS device.

The first time my friend and I used a GPS device, we had no idea what we were doing and wound up at our destination 4 hours later than many people in our group. When my friend and I shared the story with an experienced GPS user he said, "Yeah, that happened to me. After that first time, I learned to also bring an atlas. Thinking your trip through and referring to a printed map can save wear and tear on your nerves, your gas budget and on your stress levels."

I agree! Think about the SUGGESTION your GPS device is offering to you. If you imagine that it's sending you on a wild goose chase, get off the goose and put your nose into the atlas.

Happy traveling!

Posted by on

GPS Logo

Related Topics:

Related Questions:

1 Answer

i want to bet the best and quickest route rather than the scenic -help


To obtain the fastest route all that you have to do is adjust your routing settings, to do this go into Tools > Settings > Navigation in this menu you should have the option of "fastest time" or "shortest distance"

Hope this helps!

May 10, 2011 | Garmin nuvi 260W GPS Receiver

1 Answer

Many times my navigation system leads me to roads that are unnecessary to follow (like a tourist-view route), it only costs me more time if I follow exactly the same ways he asks me to follow. I wish it would just let me go straight from a to b in the easiest way.

Go to Tools.... Settings....Navigation.....under Route Preference set it to Faster Time if you need to change it just press to Shorter Distance or Off Road.... if you change it make sure you press OK n bottom screen

Faster Time I use


Avoidances.....should be Enabled......press it....make sure Highway is Not checked... if you make changes here also press Ok on bottom screen

I only keep checked U-turns ...Traffic...Car Pool ...Unpaved roads

Before you travel, add your route to the GPS, do a trial run from home and see which direction it is taking you by pressing the turn arrows
If that isnt the way you want to go, on the map screen press menu then press detour, this will take you in another direction again scroll down the turns and see the route

Oct 30, 2010 | Garmin Nuvi 350 Car GPS Receiver

1 Answer

seems confused , uses the longest possible route, blurts out wrong directions which contradict previous directions, shuts down after 1.5 hours without an external power source. The unit is only about 2 years old, and is always plugged into my cars power outlet, but in this latest car since the power outlet is in the console storage I like to use it with the internal Battery, but as I said it's always fully charged

Each time you arrive at a destination, check the main menu. If [Stop] is still showing, push that before setting up a new route.
I had your symptoms once ... Had set up a route, and pushed detour several times. From that point on directions were inconsistent, until completely clearing the route, and starting over. Have never had the problem since.
If you live in a hot climate, or if the sun gets direct access to your GPS, the heat through windshield might damage your unit. Excess heat or cold will lower your battery life.

Jun 06, 2010 | Garmin nuvi 650 GPS Receiver

1 Answer

remaining time on a trip is always way off on my tom tom 1

GPS units are rather conservative in their time of travel estimates, allowing for driving equal or less to actual speed limit. This can end up giving you an extra hour or two. Mapquest is the same way if you used it pre-gps. Tom-Tom now has IQ Routes Editions that will analyze actual travel time of routes by you and other drivers, take into account time of day and conditions, and give you more accurate driving times.

May 16, 2009 | Tomtom ONE XL GPS

Not finding what you are looking for?

285 people viewed this tip

Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top GPS Experts


Level 3 Expert

76846 Answers

The Knight
The Knight

Level 3 Expert

74459 Answers


Level 3 Expert

102366 Answers

Are you a GPS Expert? Answer questions, earn points and help others

Answer questions