Taking a Break from GPS

Technology is a great thing. Using it has benefits. Relying on it can lead to trouble. I remember a discussion between an engineer, and old dog driver. The old dog driver flat out thought that things like collision mitigation were technolgically evil. The engineer thought that collision mitigation was the greates thing since sliced bread. The old dog imagined the systems slamming on the breaks during snow storms.The engineer thought that they were great because he did not have to pay attention as much. The old dog frustrates me. The engineer scares me.

It should not shock anyone that I am a compulsive trip planner. Back in the day, I had my atlas. My truck contained 2 briefcases full of city and county maps. Then there was my 3x5 file. My file contained  3x5 cards with directions in and out of every place that I went. They were arranged alphabetically by state - city - and company name. The simple act of writing down directions helped me remember them. After my first time there I would rewrite the card and included landmarks. The briefcases and files have been replaced by my GPS and my IPAD. I was starting to get lazy. Simply punching an address into a GPS is not trip planning. I was becoming too much like that engineer.

That is why I decided to take a break from my GPS. Collision mitigation is a great thing, but I rely on myself to not run into stuff. Most of the places that I go to these days, are places that I have been to before. There are times when the GPS tells me to go one way, but I go a better way. My first load without GPS was a simple one that I knew pretty well. It went from Green Bay to Neely's Landing, Mo. I knew the way, but did not know all of the details, like how many miles I would be on I255, or the number on I55 where they reconnect south of St. Louis. I had definitely lost a little route awareness by relying on my GPS.

My next load picked up in Hazelwood, MO and went to Green Bay. I knew both locations, but had never gone to the shipper from I70. I suppose that I could take the longer way and come in off of I270. That would add 5-10 miles to the trip. I hate ading 5-10 miles to trips. I pulled out my trusty IPAD and opened up the map APP. I could see the way to come up I170 and come in from the south. The exit looked familiar. Then I used the satellite mapping and it was familiar. I had a customer just off the exit only about 2 miles from my shipper. I had zero problem getting to my shipper.

It has been a couple of weeks since I unplugged. I miss the GPS quickly coming up with the exact mileage and the traffic updates that it provides. I will plug back in - eventually. 

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Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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