Tuesday, February 24, 2009

instinct vs. technology

My instincts and internal compass have been good enough to get me from point A to point B for most of my driving life. With a little help from Google maps or Mapquest, I can get most anywhere in North America with no trouble. If I've driven there once, chances are, I'll remember how to get there again.

Now entering the game is a little gizmo called a GPS. Naviagation systems are all the rage these days. They take the forethought and naviagational skills out of driving. With a GPS, I can turn off my brain, not pay attention to my instincts and get from point A to point B easier. Right?

Wrong.

On our way to Blue Knob this weekend from Granny's this weekend, I fought my instincts as the GPS gave me directions as we went. My instincts kept reading the road signs and road numbers; the GPS struggled to keep up with the car at times. As a result, "Recalculating route," came across her digital lips thrice. In unfamiliar terrain, I made the mental map of the directions. The satellites would need to recalculate each time.

I'm still not sure if I'm for or against the GPS. Perhaps the next generation GPS should have an option to see the directions beforehand, a la Google Maps, to put them in your brain before getting behind the wheel. That way, there'd be a better chance to remember them along the way when you fly past an intersection at 45 mph, and the internal maps of GPS think you're off-roading in an Acura.

Which reminds me, I think it's still in my glove box...

3 comments:

Miss Blase said...

I hate GPS units. They distract the driver with their stupid yellow line and "recalculating" nonsense. They are just another cause of accidents and stress, and allow people to become more and more dependent on technology than on the incredible organ we have in our heads. While we're on this, can we PLEASE ban texting while driving, the Blackberry and Twitter?

Miss Blase said...

Ok, I saw this today and had to add it. Reason #345 why I hate GPS: It makes stupid people more stupid.

Exhibit A: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/bradford/7962212.stm

Mr. J said...

Wow. Moron. I understand that roads are a little bit narrower on the other side of the pond, but honestly?

Sidenote, I managed to find my way around Florida two weeks ago without a GPS or directions for that matter. Why? I know how to use signs and N/S/E/W are not foreign letters to me. Orlando to Gainesville to New Smyrna and back to Orlando. Never got lost. Beat that, Garmin!