I used to have such a great sense of direction! Until Google Maps!
I love Google Maps, but ever since I started using the turn-by-turn application, my sense of direction has really taken a hit. I find myself getting lost all the time.
Years ago I was a partner in a delivery business and drove all over New England and the Southeast corridor. During a ten year period, I became lost a total of two times. For driving over 1000 miles a week, that is exceptionally good. I now travel less and get lost more.
I Never Got Lost Without Google Maps
My trick to never getting lost before using Google Maps – a paper map. Yes, an actual paper map. One of those big, awkwardly folded maps, that once opened, you can never get them exactly back to the way they were when you purchased them. They also covered the steering wheel and half of the windshield while you were driving. At least I didn’t get lost, and I never crashed from “reading and driving.”
Navigating With Google Maps
I remember explicitly the very first time I used the turn-by-turn application. Heading to a store from a friend’s house, in a neighborhood that I wasn’t too familiar with; I decided to give this new driving tool a whirl. After 15 minutes of circling the neighborhood – my device proudly announced that I was at my destination. I was still in this residential neighborhood sitting at a stop sign. There wasn’t a store in sight. I had driven deeper into the development and now had to find my way out. I finally did get to the store, but an hour later, when it should have taken me only 15 minutes. This should have been my first clue as to why I shouldn’t depend on a device when trying to get from point A to point B.
Another really irritating feature navigating with Google Maps is when you are deep in highway traffic, cruising along at 75 mph, and she now decides to recalculate your route without your knowledge and you continue on your way. This new route is miraculously the better route to take to your destination. Why? She doesn’t say. Of course, you can look at your device and try to figure it out, but you may crash or get a ticket in doing so.
Back to Static Maps
After much contemplation, I have decided to revert back to using static maps. I have come to the realization that getting lost is actually not Google Maps fault at all. It was always my own fault. When I was using a paper map, I would look at the map before I even started out on my journey. I always knew the route that I was going to take. Using Google Maps simply made me complacent at the wheel. Punching in the destination and glancing at the ‘blue route line” every once in awhile is leaving it all up to the device while leaving me in a fog. I became a lazy driver, not an informed one.
I have also decided to only use Google Maps for when I am mapping out my destination or searching for a hotel, restaurant, or gas station. Reverting back to my old ways will put me in charge of my driving, being aware of my surroundings and knowing where I am actually heading.
Has Google Maps changed the way that you navigate?