Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wellness Wednesday: GPS Safety

With the price of global positioning systems (GPS) dropping last year, there has been an increase in the number of people using them. They have also become more of a danger to us, in many ways.

The most obvious danger GPS sytems pose is distraction of the driver. To minimize this distraction, all programming of the GPS (destination, mode, etc) should be done BEFORE starting on the road or at least when the driver is pulled off in a safe area. Also, try not to look at the GPS screen while driving, follow the verbal instructions instead. If you HAVE to look at the screen (for the map or otherwise), again pull over to a safe location to do so.

Another danger of GPS sytems comes into play if yours gets stolen. My husband installs auto glass for a living and he says the number one thing he has seen being stolen from cars is GPS systems. The bigger concern then becomes what is on your GPS. Many of us have home programmed in as a regular destination as a convenience for ourselves. If your GPS gets stolen, now the thief can find you too. So what can you do about it? First, do not program your actual address in for your home destination. Instead, use a nearby intersection or public building address. Second, do not leave your GPS (or any valuables for that matter)in plain site in your vehicle. It is better to take it out of the vehicle, but if you are leaving it inside at least put it where it cannot be seen, such as the trunk, glovebox, or under a seat. Also, be sure to wipe off the suction cup mark from the glass as this is a telltale sign to a thief that you have a GPS. Since thieves know people often leave their GPS in the vehicle, if they see this mark on the glass they are more likely to break in and check your glovebox, under your seat, etc for the GPS.

GPS systems are a great convenince in our modern lives, but like many other great conveniences they also can bring great danger. Use your GPS responsibly, be sure to leave no sign that you own one in your empty vehicle, and remove your home address out of the stored addresses and you will be doing a lot to protect yourself and others.

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