But, but, the GPS said "turn here", and I did...!


Old Man with a Hat
Jul 4, 2012
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Central Oklahoma
I was watching a YT video the other day where it showed the morons out there who follow the GPS, even it is obviously (and sometime dangerously!) wrong! This semi-driver was headed off across the desert on a really sketchy road and got stuck miles from the Interstate. He was up to the front axle in sand. The tow driver arrives, where the semi driver told him ""Look, here is where the GPS said I needed to go!", when the tow operator said "Don't they have common sense in your country?"...In what was probably a $5K recovery bill, he got back on the gravel road and aimed back towards the freeway.

Another one showed a couple on vacation that turned their rental Tahoe down a boat ramp into a lake..."but the GPS said there was a road here!"...so you are gonna believe a GPS voice in your head that says "yup, there's a road, right?" versus the other voice in your head that says "STOP! There is no road here!"

People have become so used to the marvels of GPS that they don't actually engage their brains and think "OK, this ain't right!"

My sons and I were returning from Denver one time, when there was construction on the highway in southwestern Kansas that required a detour. We went on a route I normally don't take for this trip, but I knew the route well. I haven't used a map in my drives in OK, KS, and CO in a long time, because I am very familiar with highways and back roads in these states. I told my younger son that I needed to know how far the town of Hugoton, KS was from our location (no GPS), so he grabs the map and thinks "OK, easy enough" and finds it quickly. Then, I asked him to confirm that we needed Highway 51 to go East from there. He looks, confirms, and asks "How do you know this? You didn't even look at the map at all!" I smiled.

I personally like paper maps for long road trips. I've been a fan of maps and charts ever since I was in second grade. It's neat to just look at a map and see where places are. The GPS is only as accurate as whatever is loaded in your vehicle, and when it was last updated. And a paper map can become outdated, as well.

Any fun experiences with GPS, paper maps, or just "aim and drive"???
I've used a GPS for many years, starting out with Tom-Toms and switching to the more sophisticated Garmins as I went. I traveled a lot for work (40k miles some years).

I got to depend on them but always realizing their limitations.

Since I've retired, I don't drive as much but still use the GPS a lot.

My 2019 Ford Edge has its own GPS and its not as good as the Garmins. Lately, I have been using the Wayze app that works with the Ford dash display and I'm starting to like that.

One of the issues with the older units has always been they don't always take the best route. Wayze seems decent, but as always, a little common sense goes a long way. Doesn't look like the right turn? Then don't turn there.. It seems simple to me.
My GPS has a habit of saying "recalculating" quite a lot after numerous attempts of "make a u-turn in ...", and then finally gives up and sends me on the route I wanted to use.
GPS is probably one of the best options added to newer vehicles. Like John, I spent many hours of window time in my car early on in my career, and back before GPS, flipping pages in the Chicago & suburban area map book while drinking a coffee and smoking a cigarette all while steering the car with my knee at the same time became a way of life.
No longer a smoker or a big coffee drinker, and now with zoom meetings, the milage doesn't get racked up as much as it used to.
GPS does not always have the preferred route when calculating, but at least the "recalculating girl" has a sexy voice.
2009 I was going to the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer France,
my new Garmin wanted me to get off at a ramp that wasn't there.

It turns out that there was one there four years earlier.

2011 I was helping my brother move and I was driving the rental truck with a car trailer.
15 hours into a 17 hour drive we get to a detour, the detour was 24 miles to bypass a tunnel.
Late at night and pouring rain, the GPS wants me to turn here.

Needless to say I didn't, makes you wonder why the log in there.

I love my GPS for finding gas stations and food, I turn the audio off. I only program the route so I have an idea on my timing.

I get so irritated when the GPS voice is telling me things I already know that I have no energy left to pay attention to an info that I didn't know.

For big cities, I stick to maps. A good look and I usually know what I need to do to get to my destination. In case of doubt along the way, just take a second look.

One funny thing happened once in Rome. At a certain point I see vehicles appearing over a hill top and heading in my direction over the entire width of the road. I saved the car and myself on the sidewalk. Must have been a one-way road.

Also funny is this one, again in Rome. At a traffic light the driver of the car to the right of me starts inquiring about directions. The lights turn green and we both keep driving parallel to each other so my passenger seat buddy can finish his explanation.
The trade at which I make money has primarily been tech with a smattering of random education for two decades. I've always loved the new technologies. But, I do teach a class about the problems of technology. One thing we discussed this semester is GPS. No matter how good a gps becomes and no matter how much more efficiently and quickly you can get somewhere, it takes something from you. If you can look at a map or even just simply forge ahead using intuition to find your way, you'll feel good about yourself but also your brain will create new neural pathways.

When I first had a smartphone with Google maps, I used it to get everywhere. But then I realized that I couldn't even find my brother in law's new house that he'd been living in for two years without gps. So I shut location services off on my phone and haven't turned them on since.

In the 1840's, Ralph Waldo Emerson talked about this. He discussed how notebooks put us in a situation whereas we no longer use our memories and carriages lost the use of our legs.

It's not a new phenomenon, but it's real.
I silence the voice on my VW's nav system, most of the time. I do like the fact it shows the speed limits and gas station locations. What's funny is the update I loaded up on it last year, does not show a new turnpike near me. For giggles, I left it "on" while on the new road. It kept saying "you are leaving the digitized road" a LOT, and showed me doing 85 mph crossing what were pastures and people's homes. Of course, since my car is a 2014, VW no longer supports or provides updates past the last 2018 update, which I did right after getting the car.

Which brings me to a valid gripe I have concerning GPS - updates! The automakers are not going to provide or make available infinite updates; or for that matter, any updates beyond a certain point in time. Of course, they don't tell you this while you're considering a new or used vehicle. Things like GM's OnStar in vehicles older than 2009 or so are useless. I can't enable the one in my wife's '08 Buick, and the dealer confirmed this. The cops can at least find your car if it gets stolen. They are happy to support the new-car buyer; but after that, all bets are off. Soon, you'll have a whole generation of car buyers that will have useless GPS systems in their cars, can't read a paper map, and wonder why they can't recharge their new electric toy.
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I change the voice on my GPS to be the Australian Woman’s voice then pretend Nicole Kidman is in the passenger seat.
I change the voice on my GPS to be the Australian Woman’s voice then pretend Nicole Kidman is in the passenger seat.

I have a snotty-sounding East Coast female voice on mine that sounds like she's at that time-o-the-month. I wonder how one changes the factory-installed voice on the GPS?
Forgetting all the stories of misdirected travellers, my gripe with GPS is the feeling of tunnel vision it gives. I like to understand the big picture. Where am I in relation to the rest of the province, state or country. I traveled from Edmonton to Yellowknife following my son-in-law who was using GPS. It was not until I got a paper map that I really understood where we had been. I admit that I am an old fart who just enjoys the way things were, but, I'm happy this way. I like Points ignition, three-on-the-tree, manual drum brakes, and so forth. But all this newer stuff is great, if you like it. I understand that some folk even enjoy golf........
Things like GM's OnStar in vehicles older than 2009 or so are useless
OnStar was useless in 2002 before smart phones, only went down from there.
I feel one of the problems is with GPS they rely too much on it and don't even bother to look at the overhead signs. Ones like you mentioned about the lake are funny. On major roads they wait to see which way to go until the last second when the digital car on screen starts to go in the correct direction. When you just went under 2 different 20×30 overhead signs that told you the answer. Mostly seems to happen when the route splits business and bypass, or one of these spaghetti interchanges that the child like civil engineer used his spiro-graph toy to help design.
I picture some knothead driving in the mountains and going off a cliff, while his GPS is saying "Recalculating your route. Turn right in one-thousand feet..."
I don't own a GPS. I've borrowed my FIL's a few times, more for double checking myself and tracking time to destination on long trips. My wife marvels at the fact that I can typically tell her how long it will take to get somewhere (with in 5 minutes) even if there are stops to be made.

In my early 20's I some friends and I drove from western PA over to the Wellsboro, PA (PA Grand Canyon). I was on my motorcycle and they were in a truck. Once there they wanted to go to an old fire tower. We looked at a map and I took the lead. After a little while we came to an intersection after a brief pause I continued on. When we got to where the fire tower used to be my friend says have you been here before? How did you know how to get here? No, I've never been here. After looking at the map for just a few minutes it was all by the seat of my pants and just general sense of direction. I can get to most any place I want by the seat of my pants, till I get to a big city.
^^^I'm the same way. I can still not only tell you how to get to DEN from OKC, for example; but I can also tell you at least seven different routes, along with the highway numbers and whether you'll turn left or right. I've been blessed with the ability to look at a map once, and not have to refer to it again for the entire trip.

Once, in the late '90s, I found out about a truck for sale, a 1950 Chevy 4100, about 40 miles away. It was out in the country...like, out in the country! The guy with the truck was a perfect example of the Okie redneck, especially when it came to directions. "Ya hit the nine highway until you get to Pink, then turn South on the old fire road and drive a spell till you see the Adams farm. It has a silo laying on the ground. Go East about two or three minutes or so and you'll see the burned-out Jones place. Go two houses past that and you'll see a big mailbox. Ya pass that, you went too far. Turn left. Don't worry about the dogs, they ain't gonna bite ya. Honk when you get to the house!"

I found that, no sweat. No road names or actual mileage, just general directions and landmarks. Bought the truck.

Another time, I'm delivering my 1967 Polara wagon to a guy in Ohio, in 2002. He is out near the OH/WV border. Very hilly, very backwoods, very "Deliverance". I'm hauling with my '96 Dodge Cummins 3500 and my 19' car hauler. One of the landmarks is "Possum Scream Road" (since renamed!). Found it! Went up the windy and rather steep road. My next landmark is the "23-car pileup" which is exactly as it sounds. If I get to that, I went a half-mile too far. I got to that. Just then, the buyer is coming up behind me in his old Jeep to let me know I have to go another mile to get turned around! Got the wagon delivered and had a great dinner, too! They invited me to stay overnite, which I was happy to accept. A nice, hearty breakfast from the buyer's wife the next day, and I'm back on the road. Road trips like that are far too rare, these days.