by Chris Guld
We have several GPS devices, some are test units, some are our old standbys. Every time we encounter an issue with driving an RV on this country’s highways, we like to check out the various devices to see what they tell us to do. We often have two or three of them talking to us in different voices at each turn. We love it when they all agree. But not always.
After two harrowing experiences in New England with a tall motorhome and short bridges — a bad mix not indicated by any of our GPS units — we share some important lessons over our nine years of RV travels with GPS devices.
Consult a paper map periodically, just to see if what your GPS is telling you makes sense.
Review your day’s route in the GPS before you turn the key and start driving, especially the beginning — from the campground to the highway.
Learn how to see the entire day’s route in your GPS before following it. I’ve heard of people traveling six hours out of their way before they realized that the GPS was taking them to a different ‘Greenfield’ than their intended destination.
Always call your destination and verify your directions, or read the directions from the RV park’s website or directory listing. The local park owners or staff know better than the GPS devices! It’s that last mile that’s the most problematic.
Any time you find a routing issue that is not correctly identified in your GPS unit, communicate the problem to the manufacturer. Garmin provides a web form to report a map error. Google Navigation has an option at the end of your route to specify “Destination Not Here.” Microsoft Streets and Trips uses Navteq maps. Here is a Navteq form where you can report a map error. Rand McNally units have a button to “Tell Rand.” The more we all communicate with the manufacturers and map makers, the better the information will become.
Chris Guld and her husband Jim are “Geeks on Tour,” teaching RVers at rallies and seminars about computers, the Internet and other subjects.