GPS Navigation Units. A Safety Device?

I Recently Purchase a GPS, and after using it started thinking if this device actually prevents accidents, and loss of life. Has there been any studies on this?

I haven’t seen any research, but I would love to hear your reasons for thinking it prevents accidents and loss of life.

I doubt that there have been studies on this topic, but you never know.

That being said, a GPS could help to prevent an accident if if prevented a driver from attempting to look at a road map while driving. On the other hand, a driver who is looking at his/her GPS unit and/or entering information into the unit while driving, is distracted at least as much as someone talking on a cell phone, and is possibly more distracted than someone talking on a cell phone.

As with so many other things in life, it is the way that the unit is used that determines whether it helps or hinders in terms of accident avoidance. Just as with cell phones, it would be much safer to stop the car while focusing on a GPS, rather than trying to multi-task while driving.

GM uses GPS in the OnStar system to locate a vehicle that has been in an accident. You might ask GM if they have any data. Just remember that it is their system. But you could get some useful information. The problem with other GPS systems is that there is no way to communicate automatically with the safety net. I believe that OnStar automatically initiates communications if air bags are deployed. You might not be able to hit a panic button or dial a phone in the direst of circumstances.

I suppose you could make an argument for that, but I believe you could make an equal argument that it may cause accidents and loss of life.

I personally would not be without mine when going somewhere I am not familiar with.

I agree that it could be either a blessing or a curse if used inappropriately. It does take a little self discipline you must exhibit as a driver not to be distracted by all the features while driving…especially when alone.

I suppose if the alternative is futzing with a road map while you’re driving. I think it’s a pretty rare set of circumstances in which an on-star like system will make a difference.

I usually just try to figure out where I’m going before I start driving.

We just got one about a month ago. VDCdriver described it well. I’d like to add that overall, safety is hugely enhanced when you are driving to an address where you have not been before such a store in a built-up area on a busy street. Too many places don’t have a number on their building so the GPS is a great help. You don’t even have to look at it if it has speech capability to announce street names.

I love it; waited too long to buy one.

They certainly can be a benefit. We’re using the Verizon VZ navigator in our cell phones, works great. Audible turn-by-turn with a small map. Completely portable, no chance of leaving it behind or getting it stolen.

A year or two ago, a man in NY was driving a car with a GPS system. He was following the spoken instructions. When he came to a major rail crossing, it said, “Turn Right.”

So he did. Car got stranded on the tracks, and a locomotive came along and totaled it. He escaped with his life.

So, for him it was not safe.

Google: tracks gps turn right

A lot of hits.

There was actually more than one accident at that same rail crossing north of NYC, according to local news coverage. The RR crossing had not been changed for many years, yet several GPS systems seemed to mistake the tracks for a road. As the old saying goes, “Trust, but verify”!

It probably does both: some lives saved, that wouldn’t have been without, and some deaths that wouldn’t have happened. I have no idea which number is larger.

I find moving map GPS’s to be VERY distracting; much more so than cell phones, IMO.