Study Finds Drivers With GPS Feel Less Stressed

Gps

GPS devices certainly make for more convenient driving, but now a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that they also have a positive effect on driver safety.

It found that 72 percent of drivers feel less stressed when using a GPS device and 59 percent said using a navigation device helped keep them focused on the road. Naturally, the study is being brandished by GPS manufacturers such as TomTom.

These conclusions seem like common sense: When you're not looking for street signs or highway markers, you can focus your attention solely on the immediate driving environment. Less distractions on the road always equal safer driving and perhaps that outweighs glancing down at a GPS unit from time to time.

Do you own a portable navigation device? Do you think this makes you a safer or more relaxed driver?

By Stephen Markley | June 17, 2008 | Comments (14)

Comments 

Gary R

If they are focusing on the road, how are they able to watch their GPS to see where they are going? Of course, nobody would EVER enter their destination while driving. Nope, no distraction at all.

Gus

I feel far less safe with GPs's installed in cars. I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone utterly confused by the GPS and road signs. They watch the GPS till the last minute, then get confused by the road.

I've watched a number of drivers approach I95 while reading the GPS. They come to a fork in the road where the signs read North-Washington, South-Richmond. They stop, usually in the middle of the road, and try to figure out which way they actually want to go. Had the simply been following the signs, there would be no issues.

There should be a test and a license required to use a GPS in a car. If you can't pass the test, no GPS.

Rob

Gus that is the dumbest thing i have ever heard. while i agree that gps units can be a distraction, they are no more of a distraction than a cell phone, looking at the backseat to check on the kids, or changing the radio. We DO NOT and SHOULD NEVER have to have a license to use something in our own private vehicles. Having more government involvement is not going to help prevent accidents, common sense will though.

Happymantis

Well... I've found using GPS to less distracting than staring at maps and directions while you're driving, and there's no stress and fighting even if you miss a road as the GPS will find a new route...

.

I usually find myself screaming at the Magellan-made Hertz NeverLost... so no, it does not make me a calmer driver. The aftermarket Garmin systems with touch screens suit me better.

As for the distraction problem, I always have a passenger futz with it, or I pre-program my destinations before going out. Much easier, and safer, too.

Brian

I partially agree with this article. I took my GPS on vacation on the Florida keys and I was more able to focus on the road. My unit does have Text-to-Speech so I really never have to look at the GPS unit.

My girlfriend has the Garmin Nuvi300 that only tells you to when to turn ("Turn Right in .2 miles). I a city like San Francisco where the blocks are small I find myself having to look at the GPS map because if not I either make abrupt turns or pass it completely.

So from my experience unit with text-to-speech definitely help where as units without can be a distraction.

DL

since most roads in Boston don't have signs, the only way to know what street you are on or what intersection you are at is with a GPS system. people here are nasty, so forget about asking for directions and getting an answer.

as far as i'm concerned, it makes a world of difference trying to find your way around Boston. with a GPS i can focus on defending myself from all the jerks cutting me off. so yea, a lot less stressful.

I have a Garmin Nuvi 360 and I love it. I definitely feel much less stressed when driving in unknown territory and I do pay more attention to "HER" instructions. They are so precise that I really don't need to look at the device very often. I just take the Garmin's directions on faith and have never been disappointed yet. I even use it in area's which I know fairly well just for the help in crowded downtown traffic in knowing exactly when I have reached the parking garage I want (they all seem alike in heavy traffic).

I have a Garmin Nuvi 360 and I love it. I definitely feel much less stressed when driving in unknown territory and I do pay more attention to "HER" instructions. They are so precise that I really don't need to look at the device very often. I just take the Garmin's directions on faith and have never been disappointed yet. I even use it in area's which I know fairly well just for the help in crowded downtown traffic in knowing exactly when I have reached the parking garage I want (they all seem alike in heavy traffic).

I have a Garmin Nuvi 360 and I love it. I definitely feel much less stressed when driving in unknown territory and I do pay more attention to "HER" instructions. They are so precise that I really don't need to look at the device very often. I just take the Garmin's directions on faith and have never been disappointed yet. I even use it in area's which I know fairly well just for the help in crowded downtown traffic in knowing exactly when I have reached the parking garage I want (they all seem alike in heavy traffic).

Tony

Guys,
last year I went to CA for the first time. Rented a car with Garmin GPS. It was sweet deal. I drove anywhere I needed with no problems at all, and I drove a lot, going around and between LA and SD. I liked the voice and the precision and now I believe that for many drivers who dn't have much sense of direction this is great thing as long as they know how to follow the instruction of the GPS.
The only thing I didn't like is that I felt totally dumb. I didn't know if I am going North or West, etc. I like maps. I like to have sense of direction. With the GPS it is hard to do simply because map in the screen spins all the time. I would rather have the map in fixed geographical orientation. But once I let go and just went after GPS commands it was super easy to go anywhere. And in case of traffic, I would change route get to the different road and let GPS re-calculate, and it was just so easy to use and not destractive at all. I didn't look at it unless there was a good stretch of the road ahead. There I could play a bit with zoom etc. but mostly I looked on the road, traffic control devices and other drivers.

DL

I have a Garmin Nuvi 350. i am still amazed at how good they are able to time it so that, after a couple of early warnings that you'll be turning, when they tell you to "turn left" you have enough time to check your mirrors etc and switch lanes safely, yet not so early that you're putting on your blinker for an eternity. so yea, i'd say 90% of the time i can just relax and let the machine tell me what to do. again, this is in the Boston area, where roads are pretty notorious for being confusing

Graham

I'm one heck of a lot less stressed using mine than trying to get my wife to navigate in a moving car! She will only "navigate" while stationary, and has problems remembering that roads usually go in two directions. With the GPS, life is a lot more peaceful, even though my wife objects when it speaks while someone is talking.

ALAN

I CAME TO THE US NEVER DRIVEN A LEFT HAND DRIVE CAR BEFORE I LIVE IN AUSTRALIA RIGHT HAND DRIVE IN AUSTRALIA ONLY PICKED UP THE RENT A CAR PUT MY NEW GARMIN GPS ON THE WINDSCREEN OFF I WENT 18,000 MILES LATER ALL GOOD TWICE IT GAVE ME WRONG DIRECTIONS IT TOLD ME TO KEEP RIGHT BUT THE ROAD HAD BEEN CHANGED SINCE THE MAPPING UP THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAG WAS A LARGE CONCRETE BARRIER IT RECALULATED ME TO TURN OFF AT THE NEXT OVER PASS TOOK ME OVER THE TOP OF THE HIGHWAY AND BACK TO THE CORRECT ROAD NO MORE DRAMA ALSO IT TOOK ME TO WHERE A BRIDGE HAD BEEN UNTILL A MONTH BEFOFE IT WAS GONE DEMOLISHED I SAW A METER READER CHECKING METERS ABOUT 100 YARDS AWAY ASKED HIM HE TOLD ME 5 MILES BACK THERE IS A NEW BRIDGE I TURNED AROUND HEADED BACK FOUND THE NEW BRIDGE THE GARMIN TOOK ME THE REST OF THE WAY TO WERE I WAS HEADING SINCE THEN I HAVE BOUGHT A NEW GARMIN NUVI 260 WITH TALK TO TEXT ITS FANTASTIC IT GIVES YOU ALL THAT THE OLD ONE DOES BUT IT ALSO SAYS THE STREET NAME AND IS MUCH MORE COMPACT AND HAS MORE FEATURES THAN THE OLD ONE FOR LESS MONEY (THE GREAT BENIFIT IS YOU CAN LOOK FOR THE STREET SIGN OR TURNOFF SIGN WITHOUT GLANCEING AT THE UNIT BECAUSE IT HAS ANNOUNCED THE STREET NAME EG TURN RIGHT AT SMITH ST IN 500 YARDS WHILE YOU LOOK FOR THE SIGN AHEAD WHILE DRIVING NORMALY WITH OUT DRAMA AS IF IT WAS SOMEONE ELSE IN THE CAR GIVING YOU DIRECTIONS TURN BY TURN ALL THE WAY TO THE HOUSE NUMBER AND THEN IT SAYS ARRIVING AT DESTINATION SOON EVERY CAR WILL HAVE IT AS STANDARD EQUIPMENT THE COST OF THE UNITS IS FALLING WEEKLY AND IT WONT BE TO FAR AWAY THAT PEOPLE WILL DEMAND GPS AS A MUST HAVE ITEM IN THERE CARS I DONT TRAVEL ANYWHERE WITH OUT IT ITS JUST SO EASY FOR ME NO PULLING OVER TO CHECK MAPS ANY MORE)

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