- - Thursday, March 15, 2012

Today’s drivers rely heavily on GPS technology, or global positioning system devices. GPS has revolutionized the way people drive and use maps and directions.

While there are no hard statistics on the number of people who own GPSdevices, thousands of people have either a GPSdevice that comes pre-equipped in a car that they purchased or a stand-alone device that was bought after the fact. These devices come pre-loaded with maps that work with satellites in space. The GPS receiver figures out the distance to each and uses this information to deduce the location of the device in a process called trilateration.

GPS devices have made paper maps obsolete for many people. While GPS devices can be very convenient, especially on road trips, there are some tips to keep in mind.

• Place the GPSdevice where it won’t obstruct your vision or take your eyes off of the road for a good deal of time.

• Don’t treat the GPS as if it is infallible. Even with map updates and other accessories, a GPS can still make mistakes. Use common sense, especially where it would seem the GPS is guiding you in the wrong way.

• Do not play with the controls while operating the car. If you need to adjust something on the GPS, do so only after pulling over to a safe area.

• Have a general idea where you are going so you’ll know if the GPS is potentially guiding you in the wrong direction and can maneuver in advance.