Oh GPS, How I Love/Hate Thee!

The GPS in my car has saved me, annoyed me, confused me, and otherwise made driving far more interesting/safe/confusing than before I had a GPS.

I love leaving somewhere, turning on the GPS, and just clicking on “HOME.” Even when I am sure I know the way there is my wonderful GPS guiding me, being sure my memory is accurate, and reminding me to turn when I am lost in music or thoughts. Bravo.

And then, there are times, when I am alerted to a traffic hazard, I click the button “detour to avoid traffic,” and the detour ends up taking several times longer than if I had just stayed where I was and plowed on through the backup. Take last Thursday for example. I am headed east on the 91, in unexpectedly heavy traffic for 2 p.m. when I got one of those alerts. “Heavy traffic ahead. Do you want to detour”? I clicked on “yes” and was directed to exit at Cherry. Ah, Cherry was coming right up so I put on the turn signal to change lanes. No worry though, because apparently everyone else on the 91 east had gotten the same alert and we were all headed for the same exit.

The directions were simple. Exit, turn right. Go to corner, turn left. Parallel freeway until the next on-ramp, turn left, turn right on the freeway. Simple enough. Unfortunately the off-ramp, street traffic, left turn lanes, single lane ahead, road work on the street running parallel, and no-left turn where I needed to get back on the freeway combination took over 20 minutes. In the meantime, I looked up and could see the traffic on the freeway – streaking past at full speed. I was on my way to an appointment. I was 10 minutes late. Ugh.

What I really needed was a drone’s view. Just exactly where is this traffic congestion, and how much will it actually slow me down?

Then, sometimes, my darling GPS is incredibly accurate, repeatedly telling me to get off the freeway. This happened to my hubby once and had he not followed the advice of the GPS he would have missed his flight. Thankfully it was a one-day, up and down trip, no luggage, and he could park in short term parking.

We expect the GPS to be so accurate that we forget that it doesn’t have up-to-the-minute information on construction, rerouting, and other temporary situations. And it does need to be just a tad faster when we are going through a multi exit area and the “left lane,” “right lane” directions come barely in the nick of time.

Then there are the times when we know that the GPS has had some sort of an emotional breakdown and needs a good long rest. Going 70 in the fast lane is not the time to hear “turn left.” But it is OK sweetie. We’ll take good care of you. A nice rest overnight in the garage should work wonders.

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