Posted by Alyssa Martin
This semester, I brought my car to school for the first time. Since I am what you would call “directionally challenged,” my parents bought me a Garmin Nuvi 1490T. For me, the GPS has replaced having to focus on driving while attempting to read Google Map printouts and for my parents, they could sleep peacefully knowing I wasn’t lost on a backcountry Iowa road.
However, with the rising popularity of GPS devices comes a slowly but steadily rising danger rate. People overestimate the capability of their GPS systems and are willingly listening to each command without much afterthought.
Recently, msnbc.com’s Technolog featured an article by Wilson Rothman titled “Death by GPS’: Could it happen to you?” Rothman reflected on stories that centered on GPS mishaps, one of which ended in fatality.
Back in 2008, CBS News’ The Early Show covered a story about tourists who used their GPS systems to take them to the Grand Canyon. Rather than instructing the drivers to take the most well-known road, the GPS lead the travelers through rough terrain, and ultimately stranded them on a cliff edge.
Even though these stories continue to be few and far between, people are losing track of the valuableness of common sense. It’s not all that surprising, as consumers are becoming more reliable on technology. “There’s an app for that,” is quickly turning from a joke to reality. This is unfortunate since it seems that what society needs now especially is a reality check about their technology use.
Are people becoming too dependent on technology such as GPS devices, to the point that it is hazardous? Are GPS devices a nuisance or helpful? Is technology too readily replacing skills that were once considered necessary?