Will GPS Systems Replace Seat Belts?

The popularity of car navigation systems has led to heated discussions on how safe these devices really are. Proponents will tell you that GPS devices are far safer than traditional maps. After all, unfolding and wrestling with a map while traveling can be a great distraction. Furthermore, each time you look over a map, you must visually zoom in to determine your position. This alone requires time and takes your attention off the road.

As the name implies, car navigation systems take the physical aspects of navigation out of the picture. These systems allow you to focus on driving rather than navigating, alleviating the stress of travelling on unfamiliar roads. Even if you happen to miss a turn, the navigation system will help you find your way with ease, minus all the stress.

Helpful Safety Tips

Despite all the benefits, car navigation systems do present a few safety issues that need to be considered. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:

Plan in advance

Always enter the addresses and destinations before the vehicle even starts moving. In most cases, the navigation system will need a few seconds to determine your current position, and you might as well use this extra time to plan your route before heading onto the open road.

Use your favorites feature

Most GPS devices come with a “Favorites” feature that allow you to program frequently traveled destinations into the system. Even if you believe that you will only be traveling to a particular address or destination once, it is still recommended to save it to your favorites in the event you need to make an unscheduled stop or plan your route again.

Stop before changing your settings

If you need to make adjustments to your GPS device, always stop your vehicle first. If you are traveling with a passenger, ask them to make the adjustments for you. Many systems offer a safe-mode or lockout safety feature that prevents you from trying to program the device while behind the wheel. Thankfully, once your routes are set, there is a great chance that you will never have to adjust them again.

Keep your eyes on the road

A car navigation system can distract you from the road with its map display and visual instructions. For this reason, you should rely on the GPS system’s verbal directions to minimize the need to look at the screen.

Mount your device properly

It is very doubtful that a car navigation system merely secured by a suction cup would stay put in the event of an accident. This means there is a significant risk that you or your passengers could be injured by a GPS device that is dislodged in a collision. To ensure safety, your system should be securely mounted and positioned out of the deployment path of the vehicle’s air bags. Properly positioning your portable GPS device will help to prevent both injuries and distractions.

Prevent theft

A portable car navigation system is an attractive item to thieves. Because these devices are so easy to steal, you should find a good hiding spot or always take it with you when leaving the vehicle.

While GPS systems are not likely to replace life-saving seat belts, they can make driving much safer – especially if you keep the above safety tips in mind.

What NOT to do with your GPS

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One Response to “Will GPS Systems Replace Seat Belts?”

  1. Matt
    May 6, 2009 at 8:03 am #

    Thinking GPS will replace the seatbelt is like thinking that pulling out will replace the condom. Remember’ one never knows what the other person might hit you with. Word!!!!

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