Technology has improved driving in many ways, but one of the best ways is through navigational systems. Whether they are built into your car’s dashboard, used from your phone or tablet, or you buy a stand-alone GPS system, they are great to have for navigating unfamiliar roads and areas. When using a GPS, there are some basic safety tips that will help guide drivers while reducing dangers. Here are five great safety tips for using your GPS on the road.
- Input and review before driving. Never put in an address while you are driving. A driver should be focused with their eyes on the road. For this reason, many vehicles with built in GPS systems will lock editing once the car is in drive. Before you pull out of the driveway or parking spot, put your destination into the GPS. This gives you a chance to look up an address and search for the correct location. Review the steps and map before driving so you can avoid over-reliance on the GPS. If you need to make any changes along the way, pull off the road in a safe place and make the changes.
- Where to put it for best vision. Using a GPS device is safe if it is placed in a location that is easy to see for the driver while staying safe. Use an accessory that allows the GPS to be placed on top of the dashboard without blocking the driver’s view of the road, or in the middle of the dashboard in an air vent. Having the device in your lap or on the middle console means any review will mean the driver’s eyes are looking down and off the road.
- Turn up the volume and turn the music down. The safest way to use a GPS system is to have audible directions so the driver doesn’t have to keep looking away from the road. To hear the directions, keep the volume turned up and the music turned down. Most built-in devices or those that can plug into the vehicle’s audio system will automatically turn down or pause the music when giving a direction. This will also help decrease frustration from missing turns or important information.
- Ignore texts and calls. If a text message comes in while driving, it is important to ignore it. Not only can it make you miss a turn, but it is a large distraction from the road. The rule of staying off your phone applies to using it for anything other than GPS apps. If you need to communicate with someone through text or phone call, pull off the road.
- Have the passenger help. If you have someone traveling with you who can help, let them. If there are any alerts, turns coming up, or you need to do a quick search for a gas station, let the passenger do it. Do not make any changes while driving. If you do not have a passenger, pull off the road to do anything on the GPS to keep yourself and others on the road safe.
These safety tips and more are covered in new driver training courses. If you want to learn more as an older or experienced driver, there are also great adult driving courses available. Knowing how to safely operate a vehicle on the road is an important way to avoid crashes and injuries.