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When hearing the term “driver distraction”, most people think of talking or texting on cell phones. Yet, one of the most common and underestimated driver distraction is using GPS tracking devices and navigational systems.

A 29-year-old was captured on video as he jumped the Flagler Bridge in Palm Beach, Florida. No, he isn’t a daredevil and nor was he just an impatient driver in a hurry to reach the other side. Police said the driver was distracted by his GPS as the drawbridge was rising. The driver and his passenger were lucky to escape with minor injuries. If his timing was even slightly different, the accident could have proved fatal.

While a GPS device is intended to help drivers avoid getting lost and reach their destination, too many drivers rely heavily on their navigation devices to do the work for them. This can lead to all types of distractions – visual, auditory, manual and cognitive.

  • Visual distractions involve physically looking at the GPS device.
  • Auditory distractions refer to focusing on the voice commands for our next set of directions.
  • Manual distractions require manipulating the GPS. All too often drivers are inputting information such as destination addresses into their GPS systems while driving.
  • Cognitive distractions causes you to take your mind off the road, making you less likely to see what may be right in front of our eyes.

A GPS system should be a supplementary navigation tool, not the main source of knowledge to reaching your destination. Before you get behind the wheel, be sure you take necessary steps to avoid any distractions. Prep the device before getting behind the wheel, including not only setting your start and end destinations but also adjusting settings. Minimize distractions by pulling over or relying on a passenger to make changes during the trip. And, remember not to get overconfident with your GPS devise. The more confident you are in what your GPS device tells you, the less likely you are to notice something’s wrong. Accidents have happened when drivers have taken their GPS device’s instructions too literally. GPS may be convenient but it can’t replace common sense.

Lawsuit Financial is a strong advocate of safe driving; we will continue to comment on the risks of distracted driving. Our goal is to encourage readers to stop talking and texting on cell phones and/or engaging in additional activities that take your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel. We hope that our readers will educate others to do the same. If you must use techno devices, pull off the road. The few minutes could save a life, including your own.

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