Jones & Swanson

Navigation and GPS Safety Tips

Navigating a vehicle can be difficult in certain situations, especially when you’re unfamiliar with the route. Fortunately, GPS and navigation systems are fairly common in vehicles on Georgia roadways. Whether your automobile came stocked with a navigation system, offers OnStar guidance, or you purchased a handheld GPS device, just about every vehicle is equipped with some sort of electronic mapping device.

These devices have caused paper maps to be a thing of the past, which is good for a variety of reasons. The simplest being that following electronic turn-by-turn directions is much easier than deciphering paper maps. It is also much safer to use electronic voice navigation so that drivers aren’t tempted to look at their paper maps while behind the wheel.

Unfortunately, GPS technologies can also be fatally dangerous. The obvious dangers lie in drivers becoming distracted by the electronic devices. Updating or changing routes while driving can be extremely unsafe. Another potential danger is that navigation and GPS systems sometimes don’t take into account the law of the road. For instance, if you miss a turn or need to be driving in the opposite direction, GPS devices will oftentimes instruct you to make a U-turn at the next opportunity. The state of Georgia imposes regulations on what intersections can be navigated via a U-turn for safety reasons. In the event that you cause an accident by following the ill-advised instruction of a navigation system, you will likely be held liable for the crash. Ultimately, your own common sense and judgement should override any instruction given by a GPS system.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when using electronic navigation:

  • Safety is more important than punctuality. It is more important to arrive at your destination safely than to navigate roadways in an unsafe manner just to shave a few minutes off your commute.
  • Familiarize yourself with GPS units before starting to drive a vehicle. Never set or edit your destination while operating the automobile.
  • Turn the navigation’s voice directions on before you start the vehicle so that you aren’t looking at the screen while driving.
  • Use care when deciding where to mount your GPS within the vehicle. It should not obstruct your view of the road.
  • When in doubt, follow your own knowledge of the rules of the road. If a GPS device is instructing you to make a movement which you’re questioning the safety of, don’t do it.

Distracted driving of any kind is illegal in Georgia. If you’re involved in an injury-causing crash and found to have caused the crash due to distraction behind the wheel, you could be held liable. For more information on what is constituted as distracted driving or if you’ve been injured in a crash as a result of another’s distraction, call 770-427-5498 to speak to a knowledgeable Georgia injury lawyer.

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