For years, my wife has been asking me if I’d like a GPS for Christmas? My response has always been to gracefully decline.
I know Toronto “like the back of my hand” and I rarely get to hit the open road. To me, the “open road” has consisted of the weekend trip to the family cottage, hardly reason to make the investment when you’ve travelled every variation of the route for the past 45 years.
As fate would have it, last Christmas my wife made an executive decision and bought me one.
At first I thought it was cool hearing some lady tell me to turn left or right. I’d even turn it on for my daily commute of seven minutes. Like a little kid with a new toy, I’d purposely miss an exit just to hear her announce that she was “Recalculating.”
I think it took me about three days to discover the mute button. Talk about annoying. Who in the hell did she think she was, telling me how to get around town? I have a wife for that! (Did I say that)?
Anyway, just as I predicted, it wound up in the glove box and was forgotten.
Recently, I had cause to dust her off. We were off on vacation, driving east for a two-week road trip. At first she handled everything great. On long stretches you wouldn’t hear a beep out of her. Need to eat? Get gas? She was happy to offer up the closest restaurant or gas station. Time to change the oil? This way to Mr. Lube.
Just as I was being converted, she let me down. Apparently, she calculates routes using the shortest distance. That’s fine and dandy until she sends you down a little-used gravel road in the middle of nowhere.
I drove for about 15 minutes, thinking it had to get better. When I saw the road disappear into a river I knew it was time to make a u-turn.
Then I read about the lady who wound up in a marsh because her GPS told her to make a turn where there wasn’t a road. And the couple who were lost for three days in Oregon, thanks to directions from their GPS.
The technology isn’t perfect. Every once in a while it makes mistakes and every once in a while it’s okay to get a second opinion. Even if it is from your spouse!
-Rob Wilkins is the publisher of Truck News and can be reached at 416-510-5123.