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Driving Today

Will Your GPS Get You Lost?

Survey of Australian drivers finds nearly two-thirds don’t trust the technology.

If you got a new GPS navigation device for Christmas you might take a lesson from a recent survey of Australian drivers. The study by Pure Profile in September 2009 found that two thirds of South Australia drivers blame the technology for getting them lost, and an insurance firm that expanded upon the study results discovered that many GPS users got into heated disagreements with passengers in their vehicles over navigation system instructions.

“Having a GPS can be a real comfort when you’re in an area you’re not familiar with and is far safer than juggling a traditional road map while driving," said SGIC insurance spokesperson Emily Gatt. “As we know, technology isn’t always a hundred percent accurate, but rather than pulling over and calmly reprogramming our GPS, we’re finding that a third of us are getting into a frazzle and having an argument with our passengers.”

Gatt said that these “carguments” could have something to do with our inability to trust technology. Almost half of drivers don’t feel they can trust their GPS to give them accurate directions, she said.

“Whether this feeling is justified, or whether people simply think they know better than their GPS, is unknown,” she noted. “What we do know is that the features of your car should never compromise safe driving habits, and if you lose concentration while behind the wheel, even if it’s only for a second, the consequences can be serious.”

Gatt advised drivers to avoid dangerous situations by resisting the urge to reprogram their GPS while driving. If you think your GPS is giving you the wrong directions, pull over in a safe place before reprogramming it, and if you know you’re prone to GPS distress, maybe it’s a good idea to take along a traditional road map as back up. Just don’t try to read that while you’re driving.



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