GPS Authoritarian Personalities — MORE lost Travelers

Just a few days ago I posted an article on this blog about GPS Authoritarian Personalities. Men who don’t like to stop and ask strangers for directions are getting GPS routers for Christmas.

In all cases the driver was of the male gender group, and he was the person who programmed the route. The guy had the GPS take over the “thinking” which got the family stuck in snow on a Forest Service road.

This story is another damned AP story and they are snits about links. You can find the article “GPS-led travel goes amiss; 3 Ore. parties rescued” at

It must be a guy thing to listen to the “Talking Lady”, the name I’ve given to my husband’s GPS navigation system (Garmin). So far, I’ve not read about the wife getting the GPS for Christmas and programming the route to the Grandparent’s house and jumping in the car for a shorter drive. It is always the guy with the GPS. I’m sure that somewhere out there the BLACK swan exists and that a woman is following the GPS directions and suspending her common sense when the GPS directions take her off of the main highway, onto a gravel road in the middle of winter. I’m looking for that story for a sense of fairness to the guys — we don’t want to hurt their sensitive and delicate feelings — now do we?

I hope that these GPS using guys get yelled at by their wives. But I also hope that the wives learn that marriage is a partnership and that they are going to have to check out the hard copy/paper map or road atlas to make sure that this super-duper new route won’t take them over a cliff, across rail road tracks or into a snow bank.

In the case of the family with a baby — they were found when other family members duplicated the GPS route by selecting the direct route. The GPS took the rescuers straight to the lost family members, stuck in a snow bank.

I knew that the GPS had a major flaw when the Talking Lady kept telling my husband to turn right. Had he followed her instructions explicitly he would have smashed the car into a stone wall. There was NO right turn off of the freeway. It is really doubtful that there was ever an exit ramp at that location — that stone wall was part of a cliff that looked rather old.

The marine GPS units are much better. My husband has been using marine GPS for years. But he also uses paper charts (marine maps) along with the GPS. We’ve used marine GPS for night navigation and in one case the husband had put in coordinates for a mooring buoy and we were able to find that buoy on a dark, windy night.

It’s interesting how sometimes the “odd” news isn’t so odd after all. There is a pattern in these man VS the GPS stories. I’m seeing the GPS navigation devices used by personality types who suspend their own judgment to the directions from a machine. As the Sheriff at the end of the AP/Yahoo article says — if the GPS sends you down a remote mountain road and all you see is snow — TURN AROUND.

In defense of the guys, I must say, that the Talking Lady sounds like she knows where she is going (yes I know that this is a computer generated voice). So even though I KNOW that she is badly flawed — she managed to trick us last year. When she has a long record of success on bad roads in 6 states, then, she sometimes earns the benefit of the doubt — WRONG!! Never trust the GPS completely– and when you see RIVER sand across the road (a remote rural dirt road) — STOP and turn around. Humans are supposed to have what the computer does not have — Common Sense.


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