GPS has changed my life for the better. I now drive with a great deal more confidence, and I’m no longer as worried about getting lost when I'm behind the wheel.
Before, I’d print out Mapquest and Google Maps to take me where I needed to go. This required that I spend some time before my trip looking up directions online. There was also the matter of cost as printing directions requires ink and paper. Now, I just gather the street address, type the information into my device, get in the car, and go.
Another negative when I worked with print maps was that it presented safety issues as I had to constantly look away from the road and at the directions while driving. I always felt like a public service announcement waiting to happen (“Friends don’t let friends take their eyes off the road while looking at printed directions unless they want their friends to
rear-end another vehicle and watch their insurance rates go up...”)
I like that GPS speaks to me and provides turn-by-turn navigation, so I don’t have to take my eyes off the road. I’m also warned well in advance before I have to take some action – make a turn, get off at an exit, etc. I was constantly missing something when I used the paper maps (“Wait – was that..? Oh, man!”). Another plus is I'm able to reroute around traffic accidents and construction delays. A few months ago, I got around the double whammy of a traffic accident on top of construction delays. I felt so empowered – sometimes you have to savor the little things.
I suppose there’s some truth to the notion that GPS can impede critical thinking skills and makes people dependent on technology. Not once since I started using it have I pulled out a road atlas and decided, “Let’s do this the old fashioned way!” But, I can develop my ability to analyze and interpret in other ways like, say, writing a blog. And, to suggest that such devices make one rely on technology is like arguing that people need TV for entertainment; or, that folks require a microwave in order to eat warm food. There will always be issues associated with tech.
As you have probably surmised, I'm willing to defend my decision to use GPS
because it makes driving infinitely less confusing and stressful. If that harms my thinking skills or makes me need the technology, then so be it. It's sure better than rear-ending a Buick.
I'm Eli Natinsky and I'm a communication specialist. This blog explores my work and professional interests. I also delve into other topics, including media, marketing, pop culture, and technology.