The GPS Navigation navigation unit offers a number of compelling safety advantages to travelers venturing into unfamiliar territory, including keeping us from getting lost, guiding us to the nearest service station, rest area or hospital, and enabling us to report our precise location to emergency responders. Though the presence of another electronic device in the car or truck can be a distraction, those of us who remember wrestling with big, unwieldy paper maps while attempting to keep our eyes on the street see the in-vehicle GPS Navigation revolution as a net benefit, particularly with the inclusion of voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions.You may find more details about this at 3 Smartphone Apps To Use With Your Next Rental Car.
Now there’s a new revolution afoot, specifically the growing availability and sophistication of Gps navigation functions on cell phones, including the iPhone, Android and Google Nexus One. However, from a safety viewpoint, there are strong arguments as to why the GPS on your mobile phone is best used when you are stopped or seated in the passenger seat and a dedicated in-vehicle GPS Navigation device remains a better choice:
Eyes Forward – Read With Your Ears: One of the main risks of digital devices in the car or truck is the fact that they draw your eyes away from the street ahead. Practically all dedicated in-car GPS systems include spoken turn-by-turn directions (“in one mile, turn left”). The best models also provide text-to-speech capacity, i.e., they read the street names aloud (“in one mile, turn left on Main Street”). Mobile phone apps do not consistently include these capabilities and the speaker volume and sound quality is typically much better on devoted GPS Navigation models, which have larger speakers.
Screen Size: Even with spoken directions, there can be occasions when the driver must refer to the GPS unit’s visual map display. Although the quality of cell phone displays continue to improve, their size remains smaller, significantly smaller than that of a dedicated GPS unit. This makes it more difficult to discern detail and has the potential to keep your eyes off the street for a longer time.
Size of Controls: Touch screens can be difficult to operate even when you are not driving. Since mobile phones are smaller than dedicated GPS Navigation units, the soft buttons you push to control the unit are also smaller, requiring more effort, finesse, and time to operate. Once more, this has the potential of keeping your eyes off the road.
Heads Up: Dedicated GPS Navigation systems can be affixed to the windshield or dashboard such that they don’t require the driver to move their head to see the screen; merely shifting the eyes can offer a satisfactory view. Unless a cell phone is secured in a comparable way, and not put on the passenger seat, in the drink holder or ash tray as is often true, the driver must not only avert eyes and head to view the screen, but also may need to remove a hand from the wheel in order to support the phone so it can be more conveniently seen, another distraction.
Power: While dedicated GPS models typically plug into the auto’s power, we are accustomed to the convenience of utilizing our mobile phones without plugging them in. While operating on battery power, the cell phone’s screen saver may activate, requiring you to reactivate it (by touching the screen, for example), one more distraction and requirement to remove a hand from the steering wheel.
It’s For You: It’s easy to forget that a smartphone is, well, a phone. An ill-timed cell phone call could hinder the ability to navigate.
Precision: Acquiring a GPS Navigation signal from space demands an antenna and sensitive GPS chip. A dedicated GPS Navigation system features a superior antenna and typically an extremely sensitive GPS Navigation chipset which makes sure you can acquire GPS Navigation signals even among tall structures and beneath a forest canopy. The cell phone handset cannot provide a similar degree of sensitivity and therefore will not have the ability to estimate your location as precisely. Why is this a safety problem? Without a good fix on your location, the GPS Navigation may route you incorrectly or furnish directions too late for you to complete a turn safely.