Published on July 29, 2015
Technology has brought us a lot of travel benefits in the last few years, and one of the most significant is navigational help. Paper maps were replaced by expensive TomTom and Garmin GPS systems, which were then usurped by mobile apps like Waze (which was bought by Google Maps in 2013). As a result we no longer have to fumble around with an unwieldy map while trying to drive.
Navigational apps have certainly made travel a lot more comfortable for us, but has it made it safer? Over 400,000 car accident injuries have been reported annually in distracted driving incidents in the last decade, and the advent of mobile navigation apps doesn’t seem to have had much effect. Do the benefits of our new technologies somehow negate themselves?
Unlike paper maps both older GPS units and mobile apps offer verbal driving directions. This is a huge improvement on using a map because you can get real-time instructions to confirm that this is really your exit without having to take your eyes off the road to double-check a map.
Mobile apps can now let us know which streets are more congested, which allows us to pick a safer and more open route instead of getting stuck in a traffic jam. This improves the traffic system as a whole because it helps to spread drivers out across more streets so that everyone can get where they’re going faster without bottlenecking traffic as much as might have happened in the past.
Another very useful feature that’s available to us on our phones now is that they can warn us if there’s an obstruction or an accident ahead. This is especially useful on longer trips where a driver might not be paying attention, or on a daily commute to warn drivers away from their habitual routes.
The Fatal Flaw
Unfortunately all of these features run through our phones, which we’ll typically hold in our hands and look at very frequently while we’re driving. Looking down, even for just a few seconds, can cause serious accidents. Increased mobile phone usage has been blamed for major increases in distracted driving deaths in the last 10 years. To prevent us from engaging in dangerous behaviors like texting or talking on the phone while driving it’s usually best to keep your phone out of sight entirely, but that isn’t an option while we’re using it to navigate.
Though navigational apps are definitely not to blame for this, they’re a contributing factor and an excuse we use to keep our phones out and in hand while we’re driving. Navigational apps show a lot of promise to make the roads much safer for everyone if we can learn to use them responsibly.
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a car accident, please give us a call so that we can put you in touch with local auto accident attorneys and medical centers who can take care of you and help you get the accident settlement you’re entitled to cover the cost.
Category: Car Accidents