This blog was originally published in 2014; we have since updated it to reflect more current information.
GPS is a huge part of our culture, but like all things, there are good and bad elements to it.
What is GPS?
GPS, or Global Positioning System, has been around a while. Basically, GPS uses signals sent back and forth, with satellites that are in orbit around the planet, to determine the position of a device. This technology was originally intended for use by the military, but was quickly accepted by the civilian population when it became available in the 1980’s.
Today, most drivers have some sort of map guidance in their vehicle, which makes finding your way around in an unfamiliar area much easier than it used to be.
However, there are some negative aspects to look at as well.
First: The Basics
Remember when you would plan a trip using a map? The family would gather around a large map and choose routes, stops, visits to local attractions, and choreograph each minute detail of a trip.
Today, maps are all but obsolete–like newspapers and the Nintendo Wii, they are getting harder to justify.
The GPS unit has done more than just make travel easier; it has made preparation almost an afterthought.
One could literally just jump in a car with the clothes on his back and head for a far off destination, reasonably confident that he’ll arrive safely and easily.
Map reading was not just for adventure ten years ago; it was a valuable skill.
And the map itself could prove to be indispensable if you ever find yourself lost in an unfamiliar part of the country—a part that doesn’t offer wireless service.
Today, the only real skill required is being able to accurately convey an address to your GPS device.
Bring Safety Into Focus
If you’re thinking of safety, it is true that GPS systems have allowed us to focus more of our attention on our driving.
One of the unspoken hazards of road maps was that driver would often have one laid out in front of him as he drove, continually referencing where he was and where his next stop was.
This led to distracted driving and – more importantly – accidents related to driving while distracted.
Additionally, many drivers used maps that they had had for years or even decades, leading to confusion in regards to roads that had changed over that time.
With the current GPS devices, we have the luxury of seeing constantly updated roads, road conditions and routes. You can even utilize voice prompts that tell you when and where to turn, how far you are from your spot, and if there are hazards in your path.
A limo service can certainly benefit from this technology, from both a public relations perspective and in maintaining client schedules.
Are They “Foolproof”?
In order for something to be fool proof, you would need to eliminate the possibility of human error. No matter how smart a GPS is, it’s still being controlled by humans–meaning it isn’t foolproof and will sometimes create confusion or issues.
Things like lost signals and obsolete map software can occur; sometimes you won’t be able to interpret what your GPS is telling you. Either of these issues can leave a driver blind in an unfamiliar location. They can also lead to abrupt maneuvers and possible accidents–this famous scene from The Office comes to mind, for starters.
That all being said, GPS is still amazing. The technology is a huge asset to us in modern times
Your best bet is to use your GPS knowing that it isn’t always correct, but can help tremendously when you need it.
Your OML Worldwide Chauffeur
At OML Worldwide, our chauffeurs all use GPS devices to navigate to and from one location and another. We also have GPS tracking modules installed that allow dispatcher to see where their available cars are located and guide them to their destination if needed.
We discourage the use of smaller handheld units that require more of a chauffeur’s attention, which can create distracted and thus unsafe driving. Our first priority is the safety of our customers and our team.
In the end, getting a client to his destination if the most important thing. If GPS makes it happen faster or easier, that’s a good thing…isn’t it?