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Safely use GPS systems while driving

 

October 10, 2019



How can drivers safely use navigation systems while operating a vehicle? The following tips can help.

It wasn't too long ago that drivers pulled into filling stations and rest stops to pick up maps to help them find their way. But nowadays global positioning systems have rendered paper maps and atlases somewhat obsolete. GPS systems are now so advanced that many even help drivers avoid traffic and/or toll roads.

Navigation systems can be used from smartphones or technology built into cars. GPS systems are convenient and often very accurate. But drivers run the risk of accident anytime their attention is diverted from the road - even during momentary glances at GPS devices. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says distracted driving is dangerous and claimed 3,166 lives in 2017 alone. The Ontario Provincial Police say distracted driving continues to be the No. 1 cause of accidents in the province, causing more fatal accidents than any other factor.

How can drivers safely use navigation systems while operating a vehicle? The following tips can help.

• Set the address destination and plot the course while the vehicle is parked. GPS should not be tinkered with while driving. If new directions are needed, or if you need a look ahead at the route, pull over to do so safely.

• Engage vocal guidance. Allow the navigation system to speak directions to you so you can keep your eyes on the road as much as possible.

• Familiarize yourself with the route prior to your trip. GPS systems are not infallible, so you should have a basic understanding of where you are going even if you plan to use GPS. This way you can anticipate turns or highway exits before the alerts and stay attuned to the traffic ahead. Navigation systems may sometimes direct drivers down the wrong side of one-way streets, so common sense should always prevail.

• Know how to operate the device before driving. Learning the tools and features of the device while the car is in motion is a recipe for an accident. Instead, learn how to use it before hitting the road so you can engage the screen or navigation system as minimally as possible while on the move.

• Enlist the help of a co-pilot. Ask a passenger to take charge and help with directions so you can keep your eyes on the road.

GPS navigation systems come in handy, but they should always be used with safety in mind.

 
 

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