Do GPS units and apps prevent or cause car crashes?

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2021 | Car Accidents

When drivers get lost, their emotions take control. Someone stressed out could make sudden, unpredictable maneuvers that lead to a crash. A driver desperately trying to scan for house numbers or street names could be so distracted by that process that they don’t notice the vehicle stopped in front of them.

There are many ways in which navigating without technology can lead to crashes. Since they take the human effort out of finding a way from one place to another, global positioning system (GPS) devices and apps that use GPS data have become invaluable for modern motorists.

The average person might tell you that a GPS device or program helps keep them safer on the road. Is it really true that navigational assistance reduces your risk of a crash? 

Using navigational software is a dangerous distraction

Distracted driving involves not having your hands on the wheel, focusing your vision away from the road or letting your mind wander. The extra time it takes you to notice changes in traffic or regain a grip on the steering wheel could prevent you from avoiding a crash.

Much like responding to a text message, entering destination information or changing the route on a GPS device involves all three forms of distraction. Despite the fact that it can an average of 24 seconds to enter and verify information, many drivers think they can safely use GPS devices and apps while driving.

About 77% of self-reported non-distracted drivers regularly use navigational assistance while driving. A terrifying 96% of the drivers who self-report as frequently distracted use navigational apps and devices while in control of a vehicle. Regardless of how they self-report, they all contribute to collision risk.

Digital distraction increases everyone’s risk on the road

Understanding that it isn’t safe to use a screen just because it navigates for you is the first step toward reducing your risk. You can commit yourself to only inputting information before you start your vehicle or when you pull off onto the shoulder.

Unfortunately, your responsible practices won’t change the fact that many other drivers don’t think that GPS use is a risk at the wheel. Internet and device records could help determine if a driver used an app or device immediately before causing a crash.


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