Outsmarting my GPS
Have you ever cursed your GPS for sending you down a route that was clearly not the fastest.
I signed my daughter up for a camp in the next county on a college campus. I needed to travel through rush hour traffic to get there. I set my GPS for the fastest time and gave myself an additional half hour to get there. The drop off instructions was particularly stressful because you had a half hour window to drop them off. If you did not get them in that window, you had to call the director so they could pick them up. You could not walk them to the camp. I planned on being there at the start of the window so really I gave myself an hour to get there.
As I got closer to the campus I hit a lot of stop and go traffic. Ugh. I continued to trust my GPS to get me there on time. On the last quarter mile to the campus I hit a left turn where the cars lined up at the light for a mile back. It took me 20 minutes just to get through that turn. I panicked. It was 8:45 and I had one more turn to take. Panic again, as it took me 10 minutes to get through the last light. I was ready to cry. As I drove up to the car loop, to my relief I saw several other cars getting there at the last minute.
I did not want a repeat of that morning, to hell with the GPS. When I got home, I looked up on Google maps and mapquest. Both had the same fastest route as my GPS. Annoyed, I studied the map. I created a route where I would avoid the the left turn that took 20 minutes. That afternoon I took the route I laid out with the online maps. It was similar to what the GPS had but I avoided the left turn. To my chagrin, there was a road closure that neither the GPS, nor the online maps anticipated and yet I still made better time than earlier that morning.
That night I was determined to find the best route. I was vaguely familiar with the area. I used what little I knew and mapped out a route that I thought was less traveled. It added a couple of minutes but I thought worth it. I avoided my left turn. I took roads that ran parallel to the bigger roads. I had my route.
The next morning we left early again. I brought my GPS, in case I got lost and off we went. When my GPS told us to get off at an exit, we kept going. When she told us to get off the next exit, we kept going. When I did get off the exit she still had another route for me. I ignored her until she finally saw my way. We arrived on campus early. Woot Woot success!
I like my GPS, I’ve used her when I’ve gotten lost. I use her when I don’t know an area but I have learned that mapping the old way is still a very useful skill.
So here’s my theory:When a large group of people are heading to same area and plug into their GPS the fastest route, they all get the same or very similar route. If you are traveling under normal conditions, it would be the fastest route but if you are traveling when everyone else is traveling, say during rush hour, then it is no longer the fastest route. The GPS today is not smart enough to find the best route during a these times.
I would love to hear your GPS story.