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Are We Too Reliant on Satnav and GPS?

There was a time when we had to make do without satellite navigation, without GPS and without smartphones for that matter. In those days we were forced to work out how to get from A to B all on our own and if we got lost? We’d probably have to look for a telephone box somewhere in order to let anyone know we were going to be late.

Now though we have these technologies and as a result, we’ve become all too reliant on them – dependent in fact. And actually, if you were born in the late 80s or later, then there’s a good chance you’ll never even have driven on the motorway without a Satnav!

In Defense of Satnavs

Before you assume that this article is going to be all about bashing satnavs and modern technology in general, it’s worth bearing in mind that there are a lot of positive benefits about these devices.

The main one of these is of course that they prevent you from getting lost. When you’re going somewhere new for the first time, a satnav can guide you the whole way – even down winding back alleys – and this can ensure that you arrive at your destination promptly and with minimum drama along the way. This as you can imagine is a huge bonus and it also means that you aren’t likely to get lost on the way and thus arrive late to wherever you’re going. In turn, this might mean you’re more likely to get the job (if you’re going for an interview) or that you’re more likely to make a good impression on your date. In short, satnavs can be really helpful.

Better yet though, less driving around aimlessly also means:

  • Less congestion on the roads
  • Less chance of an accident
  • Less pollution

 

In those ways, satnav is actually good for society.

And Now the Bad Stuff…

But of course it’s not good to be reliant on anything and this is where the drawbacks of satnav start coming in…

You see there will be times when you forget to pack your satnav, or when it breaks down unexpectedly. In these situations you’ll then be left driving around without the device that you have grown so reliant on to help you get to your destinations. Ultimately this might mean that you get even more lost and this will be a more stressful situation because you won’t be used to getting lost. This is when the real accidents might happen.

There is a certain pride that comes from being able to get from point A to point B on your own and actually it’s very good for our brains too. Did you know that taxi drivers have larger brains than professionals in any other job role? The reason is that they have to learn so many different routes to get around and in turn this causes their brains to grow larger as they develop more neural connections that literally increase the size and weight of their brain. Which is kind of incredible when you think about it…

Then there’s the fun that comes from being more fixed on the road so that you can see what’s happening and so that you aren’t at risk of missing a hazard. This also increases your chances of seeing something interesting to stop at and explore.

Then there are the privacy concerns over a device that is capable of tracking your driving habits and where you are in the world. Some companies are starting to suggest using satnavs in order to set insurance premiums, while controversial cases in the past have seen speed cameras erected based on data collected by these devices. Do they represent an increasingly Orwellian future?

Ultimately this is a big debate but it’s one worth considering. Have you become too reliant on technology when driving? Of course there are more important things to consider, like your exhaust brakes and whether or not they’re working… It’s not the most pressing concern in the world but maybe it’s something to reflect on. Do you really need that satnav when you’re just heading down the road?

Author Bio: Warren Brown is a freelance blogger and an ace creative write with many years of experience writing for top blogs. Warren has written on a myriad of topics and has written several posts for us.

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