I almost never use GPS. I have an iPhone, so have always just used the Maps feature. However, on a few recent trips I was going to be driving several hours in large cities (New York and Toronto) and wanted someone to tell me, out loud, exactly where to go. So I requested a GPS during my rentals in both places. While I know that Toronto is a huge city, I was spending the night in the outskirts and wasn’t too concerned about city driving. New York, however, terrified me. The cabs, the pedestrians, the narrow streets lined with cars… In Toronto the GPS worked fine, so despite my fears of New York driving I felt very confident when I pulled out of the rental car lot to drive from LaGuardia to my sister’s apartment in the Upper West Side. I drove for about forty minutes on several highways and thought, This is way easier than I expected! I listened and did everything the lady on the GPS told me to do, and soon arrived at my destination. Or so I thought. As I drove down the street I noticed that there were no eight story buildings anywhere in my vicinity, and my sister’s building had eight stories. Oh dear. So I pulled over as best I could (illegally of course) and consulted my iPhone. Omygod. I was not in the Upper West Side—I was in Brooklyn. No offense to Brooklyn—I know several lovely people who live there. It’s just literally the opposite side of city from where I thought I was. After calling my sister and giving her an update (and being very proud of myself for not crying) I reset the GPS and tried again.
As I headed north and west (I hoped) I tried to keep an eye on my iPhone, making sure I was headed in the correct general direction. I had a short delay on the toll road (because my stupid quick pay thing from the rental car company didn’t work, and I had to sit there until a cop came to rescue me) and I still felt like I was headed in the right direction, and hadn’t started to cry. However, after 90 minutes of driving I saw a sign that said, “Exit here for Yankee Stadium,” which is in The Bronx. That’s when I lost it. Crying, I called my sister, who looked up where I was on Google Maps and gave me precise directions. Twenty minutes later I was at her apartment.
The moral of this story? I don’t know. Don’t trust the GPS? Look at a map before you start driving? It’s not that I think GPS is infallible, it’s just, well, I expected it to do better than it did on that trip. I don’t know when I’m going to use one again, but you can bet I’ll be checking my iPhone the whole way to make sure I’m on track.
Readers, have you ever had a GPS mishap?
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