GPS navigation has become one of the hottest accessories for every kind of motor vehicle. Need to find your destination in unfamiliar territory? No problem, just ask your GPS to point the way. Somewhere along the line, though, you do need to use your head. If the GPS says go straight when the road becomes a rock and crater strewn obstacle course, you might ask for an alternate route or just shut the darn thing off and do it the old fashioned way and unfold a map or ask someone.
Recently, a Mercedes owner, looking for a shortcut, followed his GPS unit’s instructions until he found himself stranded out in the desert with a blowout, a bad storm approaching and a flood warning in effect for the area. The GPS “knew” the way, unfortunately it was wrong. The GPS can be correct according to the database it’s using but things change and looking at the road with your own two eyes and engaging your brain may dictate a human powered re-route.
Airplane pilots learning instrument flying have to learn to trust their instruments, when the cockpit windows are black and their senses tell them they’re upside down. But ground based GPS isn’t quite to that stage yet so a little common sense is a good safety check and when in doubt, just stop and think for a minute, get your bearings and then continue.
Lots of cars have GPS built in now, there are quite a few units you can buy as add ons and now the TomTom Rider, specifically designed for motorcycles, brings the GPS navigation capability to those of us on two wheels. If you got a shiny new GPS for a present, when you install it you might want you keep your head plugged in, too, … you know, just as a backup.