By Guest Author the Social Monsters
GPS devices and map applications have become commonplace in cars around the country. However, it’s important that they are used safely. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that engaging in distracting activities while driving, such as reaching for a phone or texting, increases the risk of getting into an accident by 300 percent. Here’s a look at the many ways you can safely use a GPS device while driving:
Input Your Destination Ahead of Time
No matter what kind of device you choose to use, always put in your destination before you begin driving. Don’t try to input your location while you are driving or sneak it into your GPS while idling at a stoplight. TheCDC reports that more than 1,000 people are injured every day in the United Sates from accidents caused while driving distracted. You can avoid a lot of the danger by simply not operating your device while driving.
Mount It at Eye Level
One of the most important things you can do when using a GPS device or application on your smartphone is to find the right place for it in you vehicle. Windshield mounts, which use a suction cup base to attach to your window, are a popular option. However, some states have specific laws about where you can mount a device on your windshield, so check your local laws before attaching anything.
Alternatively, consider a dashboard or a vent mount. Both are easy to install and bring your device up to eye level so you can see it without looking away from the road. Make sure to properly install any mount for your GPS or smartphone so you don’t have to worry about it falling down while you are driving.
Choose the Right Device
With so many GPS devices and smartphones on the market, it’s important to get one that’s right for you. A smartphone with a larger screen, such as the Google Nexus 6, makes it easier to read your navigation app, especially if you plan to mount it on your dashboard. Just remember to affix it to your dashboard or windshield and not look down at it while driving.
Keep It Updated
While many GPS devices come with thousands of maps uploaded right out of the box, it’s important that you keep their firmware updated. Some devices update regularly on their own when they have a Wi-Fi connection, so be sure to set up your device’s Internet connection as soon as you get it. By keeping your firmware updated, you ensure that you are getting the best quality service from your device.
Remember, GPS is just a tool and it can fail. Don’t assume it knows everything that’s happening on the road and that it’s up to date. Not all navigation devices, GPS and smartphone apps update in real-time, so be sure to pay attention to all signs concerning construction or closures while driving. Always rely on your senses first and your navigation device second.