I was thinking about getting a new RV GPS. What does everyone on here use to navigate the way?
Last edited by Midwest Michael; 07-12-2013 at 08:16 AM.
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Of course, Paper maps should always be your primary source for navigation information, but GPS can be a nice secondary tool. Really, any Garmin or TomTom unit should serve you well. There are a wide variety of extra options, depending upon your price point, but all of them should work fine. I will, however, recommend getting one with lifetime maps, as updating map software can often cost as much as a new unit.
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The main thing to remember when considering how one is going to navigate down the road is that while there are any number of tools to help you, including GPS, maps, road signs, and verbal directions, in the end the only thing that matters is the driver's ability to know where he is and what's going on. Before you ever turn the key, you should have a clear idea of the route your are going to follow to your destination. That's what maps are for, to give you a mental picture of what it is you want to do and how you're going to do it. Road signs have been erected for the express purpose of providing visual clues to drivers as to upcoming road junctions, turns and exits to take to change routes, and distances to destinations. They are designed to give that information quickly, concisely, and without requiring the driver to take his attention off the road and traffic situation around him. Any GPS is just another tool. That's it. Just another tool. If you hop in the car with no idea of what you're doing and rely solely on some device to get you where you want to go, you are going to end up in trouble at some point. People have died blindly following their GPSs.
That said, I have a GPS and use it, especially in unfamiliar urban settings where I cannot afford to take my eyes off the road. But I do not just do whatever it says. Ever. It is my responsibility as a driver to know what I'm doing. Case in point - I just got back from a RoadTrip that included a visit to Montréal QC. That would normally be a situation where I would rely heavily on the GPS. But even though I had updated its data base just before departure, the GPS over two days directed me to a bridge that had a two mile long traffic jam, another bridge which was a railroad bridge, onto streets that were closed for repair, and onto an eastbound freeway when I wanted to go west. In each case I had to either ignore the GPS, or work my own way out of the problems that it had created.
If you are going to get a GPS, the only real difference between them is their user interface. They all really on exactly the same 27 satellites to tell you where you are, and they all have exactly the same precision. As with any choice that involves individual preferences and tastes, the final choice is going to be up to you and your pocketbook. I have a Garmin Nuvi. Others here use TomToms. If the RV GPS suits you, then that's fine. Just use it wisely and not slavishly.
You've gotten two excellent replies, with good recommendations. We are on our 2nd Garmin Nuvi, this one with the Lifetime Maps and traffic. As was mentioned above, buying the new maps for your GPS can cost almost as much as a new GPS! That said....
We plan, first and foremost, with paper maps. We have several atlases (all Rand McNally except one from Good Sam), and we are members of AAA so we can get state maps for free by going into our local office and asking. In addition, we use AAA's regional maps, too, for planning purposes. Our second material for planning (these days) is the Internet. Between a plethora of information on this site alone, and just researching the various places we want to go to online, we have plenty of information. As supplements to all this, we rely on a book called THE NEXT EXIT and the tour books from AAA.
The GPS is used when we get to an area and we need to find something. Perhaps its the address of a restaurant that we'd like to try, or a not-well-known local claim to fame place. Or, if we're off the interstates, we're looking for a restaurant or a gas station that the Gas Buddy app said was the cheapest in the area.
GPS's are wonderful too, but as mentioned above, they can lead you down a less-than-primrose-path. The problems we found were being told to turn left down a one way (the other way) road, and similar. The live traffic update is nice, but it doesn't always tell you the correct way to avoid it.
Can only concur.
Have to agree with most of the above. My Garmin too, has sent me down the wrong road and to the wrong address. But as far as traffic warnings are concerned... twice now I have been in long hold ups due to road crashes, and the traffic warning came long after I was already in the thick of it.
The worst thing you can do is totally rely on a GPS.
Thanks for all the replies. I always use a map and plan out my destination ahead. I've been considering a GPS because my friends won't be with me on a few of the trips I have planned this year and I don't want to have to pull over to check the map. I will not blindly follow a GPS ever though. I would still plan my trip and use the GPS as backup to my plans.