GPS Makes Safer Drivers

An article in Springwise suggests that drivers with GPS are safer than their locationally challenged counterparts. Across 115,197 rental cars, non-GPS cars had a 12% higher chance of an accident and damaged cars were 5% more costly to repair. Though why they should hit stuff harder, isn’t easy to explain.

This is in spite of the occasional errors telling drivers to enter raging torrents or drive off cliffs.

While this may be true of rental cars – where almost by definition, the driver doesn’t know the area – I wonder if it’s the same for personal vehicles. Based on my own experience (always dangerous, I know), one of the problems that GPS causes is that it deprives you of true local knowledge of the area you’re in.

As an example, I moved to Munich 3 years ago and still have a very, very hazy knowledge of the city and environs. This is¬†especially the case¬†where one part is, in relation to another. The reason is that I just hit the GPS every time I want to know how to get somewhere. But the problem is that I don’t learn the way for the future, as I don’t have to.

It also means that if I’m in a new area, driving a non-GPS equipped car, I’ve practically lost the ability to navigate on my own.

All this means that navigation skills, so essential for our survival since primitive man, will soon be mainly redundant, making navigation as obsolete as say, spear making or butchering your kills, for modern man.

Moreover, if you rely on monitoring GPS instructions, rather than learning your area, I would argue that long term, it’s less safe, as focusing on the GPS is going to distract you from your main task, in the same way as making a phone call would.

Ho hum.

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